Let me say right off that I am not a Trump supporter … never have been and never will be. However, I did vote for him in the last election. So it is more correct to say that I am a Republican ideology supporter, though not totally. The main reason I voted for Trump is that I felt it imperative that we needed to retain a reasonable liberal/conservative balance on the Supreme Court. Of course, there are other issues too, such as religious freedom and pro-life causes, but I am also okay with some liberal causes, such as levying taxes on the wealthy to pay for important things, like infrastructure.
But the issue that is on my mind today is the so-called “fake news” issue and all that goes with it. Before CNN was created, my only exposure to news (besides newspapers and new magazines) was the evening news on television. We had Walter Cronkite reporting the news in a late afternoon 30-minute program. Seldom did he have any guests to be interviewed during the program. It was a simple reporting of the day’s news. No bias. No partisanship. There was maybe a 2-3 minute commentary by Eric Severeid, but that was it as far as opinion was concerned. Today’s evening news is similar, thank God.
But on came the concept of a 24-hour news service. The idea seemed fine at the time, but it has morphed out of control. To report news on a 24-hour basis, today’s reporters need to either create news or keep harping on the same issues over and over, with members of panels often all talking at once. Back in the day, we had CBS, NBC, ABC, AP, and UPI. Today, there are seemingly dozens and dozens of news organizations with names I’ve never heard of reporting news on the Internet and on social media, each trying to outdo the other with sensationalism and, yes, fake news. Yes, it isn’t just the National Enquirer anymore. I pass on all news reported by any organization I’ve never heard of. And it doesn’t matter if they are known for their conservatism or liberalism.
Now CNN is one that I’ve heard of, of course. But the bias toward liberalism is present no matter what they do. There is no simple reporting of news. The questions they ask their invited guests or their panels are fraught with liberal and Democrat bias. I’m sorry, but that is not my idea of how news should be reported. The general public has a tendency to accept such biased talk as truth and it is hurting our country. I’m all for freedom of the press, but that freedom is being abused today, big time.
This is generally a religious blog, so let me end by referring to an article written by the well-known Catholic apologist Jimmy Aikin in the most recent issue of Catholic Answers Magazine. The article is about fake news in regard to comments attributed to Pope Francis (and other popes). Akin says that we should ask ourselves several key questions about the source of the comments before believing what is reported. Is there a source? What kind of source? Is it authentic? Is it reliable? What is the level of authority? These kinds of questions will often have to go unanswered by most of us due to the time required to research it. In this day and age of sensationalism, however, these are important questions, not just for comments attributed to Pope Francis, but for any news that you may be hearing where you might be asking yourself “is this really true?” The best policy, I think, is that if it sounds too sensational to be true, it probably is.
Lord, please come to our assistance. Amen.