News: Is there still a responsibility to be impartial, unbiased and accurate?
October 3, 2017
Today was an ordinary Monday morning. I was still somewhat sleep deprived due to staying up too late and was rushing to get to the cake decorating and sugar art class I paid for a few months ago. It is something I look forward to every year after the Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show.
As the morning progressed things were going pretty smoothly during lunch time I went to check my phone and two stories were trending, a horrific mass shooting in the city of Las Vegas and the death of the singer Tom Petty.
Being the depressed person that I am, news like this sometimes has an effect on my thoughts and mood. Afterward, I was rather sullen and my children noticed it when I picked them up from school. I came home feeling exhausted and crashed out on our living room couch which is still covered by items I received from the Sugar Art Show and the adjoining dining area looked like a tornado hit it. Everything was feeling overwhelming and being tired just added to it. So I took a nap for a few hours.
I woke up and went to check the news. To find out more information about the events that were occurring during that day and that’s when I saw it; the mass confusion about the events and the biased filled news.
I don’t watch TV very often and rarely do I watch anything news related whether online, live television or newspapers.
The reasoning is that accurate, fair and unbiased reporting has been replaced by sensationalism, fraught with political impartiality, and filled with “mind junk food”. It’s somewhat like the grown-ups went out-of-town and the kids have taken over. The general public’s mind is being filled with all the junk they want without thought to the consequences later.
The consequences are the blurring lines between actuality and so-called “reality”.
It can be seen in every violent action, protest and debate between human beings today. No one is charging forward with the sword of truth made up of fact-finding knowledge but instead, they carry this pretend sword made up of so many untruths, inaccuracies, and incompetence, it’s like a piece of cardboard that will crumple under the weight of anything it hits. The truth always hits hard.
This brings to mind a comment I overheard this past weekend during the Sugar Art Show. This event is run as a part of the Tulsa State Fair. The state fair has many other competitions going on besides this one. Prize-winning entries are on display everywhere from beautifully ornate wedding cakes to that jar of preserves proudly displaying a winning blue ribbon. So visitors have many things to view and see in this section. I was trying to maneuver through the crowds of people when I was stopped behind this elderly woman and a young boy, I assume it was his grandmother. They were standing there looking at entries from a live cake decorating competition, he was in awe of it all and then saw all the cake entries behind him and said: “ooh, look more cakes”. His grandmother replied, “No, let’s go see what the real people did.” I found this amusing and a somewhat strange comment.
In this woman’s view, the people who competed in the Sugar Art Show were not “real” to her actuality. We as competitors were not viewed by her to be the same as her yet a majority of us are. Most of the competitors have families, jobs, and businesses to take care of when not in competition mode. It is just that for us, we found a way to express our talent and passions, just the same way as a singer, actor, writer or a news reporter.
Which brings me back to the topic of this writing. Reporting of the news. This is just my opinion as another person out here in the world. I believe reporters, news stations and the like should be held financially and legally responsible for erroneous information that they perpetuate or spread as well as information that they withhold, all for the sake of ratings and market share. They should be held accountable for not checking the facts before reporting it.
The bygone days of a “real” reporter are, sadly, over. I remember growing up to the likes of Walter Cronkite and others who went out and got the facts to be reported. The spoke to people on both sides of the issue to round out the information and did their best to make the information as relatable as possible to all their viewers and readers.
People say that this style of journalism is archaic and technology is moving us faster but it isn’t that we are thinking faster, our brains didn’t evolve, it’s that technology has enabled us to view more of the world, our actuality has gotten bigger and now involves others in the world. We now realize how insignificant we truly are in the big picture. We now see how other’s lives are far worse than our own and we are uncomfortable with it. All the whining and complaining about how life has treated us has been slapped down by the images of war-torn countries, protests for equality, hunger, famine, and natural disasters.
The one essence of reporting that all forms have forgotten about is the “people”. The nameless many seen in that sensational pic or video being shared and liked a million times over of the latest incident, tragedy or disaster. In those images, the pain and suffering are not in forefront of all people affected. Instead, the focus is being put on things that provide no value. We as human beings are losing that “human” part of us and letting the mind junk out there take over our reasoning and logical thinking because it’s way easier to overlook things than to face them head-on. We are forgetting our own human “spirit” that has always driven us to become better than we were. We are losing the compassion and caring that help propel people forward toward greater things.
It is a disturbing thought to this mom of four children that they will have to be among these “mind junk food” addicts but I did the one thing most other parents do not do, I let me children grow up without the influence of religion, politics and no boundaries to their own thinking, I let them grow up with an opinion of their own. I wanted them to seek out the truth and develop their own ideas. I wanted them to develop their own compassionate and caring ways sprinkled with logical reasoning to not only make it better for themselves but for others as well. I pushed them to be successful academically because all well-rounded successful people strive for continuous learning and never stop.
It was the only thing that I could do for them and hopefully, with time they will make the world a better place for others.
Thank you for stopping by.
Have a great week ahead!