America needs to be smarter about the news

By James Turnage:

For the last few days, I have watched some of the Summer Olympic games. I have read comments regarding the sad state of Penn State University, and its athletic program. We are still attempting to discover why one young, angry, and unstable young man took the lives, and destroyed the future of so many men, women, and children in a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado. In every state, as it is here in northern Nevada, we constantly hear bad news, stories about murder, and torture of friends, and family members.

We all read, or, sadly watch the news on television. So what we truly know, what we really understand, is nothing.

I have talked about this before, but when I grew up, we had real news. Congress mandated that the events of the day would be reported without consideration for ratings or financial reimbursement. Most Americans are not aware that today‘s “news” portion of a network’s airtime has more advertisers than any other segment. If that were not a fact, FOX “news”, for one, would not be on cable today.

Today’s “news” is reliant on its advertisers. Today’s news shows alter the way people think and vote, not by stating facts, but by provoking emotions. Independent thought has gone the way of rotary phones, and the daily newspaper.

I “read” the news daily, but it’s not what you might think. I try to read the newspapers from around the world. I would like to read our papers, or listen to our radio and television reporting, but it is all slanted because of advertising and self interests.

I am proud to be reporting for the Guardian. I often disagree with many of those who submit articles, but we offer an honest and diverse viewpoint. Seldom do I find that in other publications.

Formerly, dailies reporting the news, such as the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post, gave us not just the breaking news of the day, but also articles giving us reason to be thoughtful. When a columnist for one of these formerly esteemed publications communicates their personal thoughts in their own columns, or on social media, they need to be accountable. Recently, when a “journalist” for the Wall Street Journal said that he hoped the women that several young men protected in Aurora, and eventually lost their lives were worth it, I found it inconceivable that he still had his job.

If it is reported that Mr. Obama has made a statement that needs clarification, that’s fair. If Mitt Romney fails to be informed on an issue, we need to make him accountable. If just and honest reporting were the reason this critical election in 2012 became the deciding factor, that would be revolutionary.

We need to cease being a country that is eager to believe bullshit, and be more receptive to the reality and importance of substance, and intelligent discussion and independent thought. It’s a year when your vote desparately counts. You have choices, listen to campaign ads, believe what you hear on radical television, or research the facts, decide what is really happening in our country, understand who is responsible, and cease making decisions on emotional weakness. It’s time to use our brains, and eliminate irrational thought. Your lives today, and those of your loved ones who have to live 20, 30, or 50 years from now, will be the beneficiaries, or the victims.

James Turnage