The thin line between news and commentary.
The only gym I actually enjoy working out in is Planet Fitness. Particularly because I feel they have the nicest facilities, and they have like 20 TVs playing the major networks and cable news channels. Not only that, you can plug your headphones into whatever machine you are using and hear all of the audio from whichever channel you choose.
One day last week while I was doing the absolute bare minimum on the elliptical, I noticed that both Fox News and CNN were covering the same story but were on two totally separate planets.
It’s no secret that CNN and Fox News both cater to two separate audiences. One extremely far left, and the other extremely far right. Most of the content broadcast on both cable channels are mostly “infotainment” and factual news content is not as regularly reported. All of the prime time shows in each channels’ programming consist of talk shows and opinion panels.
Talking heads and political pundits are not journalists and news commentary is not news. The line between the two has been so incredibly blurred that many people cannot tell the difference and truth is lost in the mix. Fo
r some media outlets, indoctrinating their audience is a higher priority than educating them. If you’re exclusively looking to these types of shows for information and guidance on what is going on in today’s world you’re not going to be able to form your own world view. You will instead inherit theirs. More so, both respective political parties are using those platforms to further their agenda. I would even argue that Fox News, with the exception of a few blocks of programming, acts as state run media resembling that of some communist countries like North Korea and China.
It is my opinion that we need to relearn how to consume news. More importantly how to accept that news isn’t meant to support our egos and uphold our own implicit bias but is to inform us, make us angry, make us asks questions, make us grow and evolve, trigger empathy, make us alert, and most of all, to inform us.
If we all continue to stay in our respective political corners, consuming commentary that only solidifies what we already think, the political divide will only continue to grow deeper. Both with the public and with pandering politicians and government officials. Homelessness will still be an issue in our major cities, immigration reform will not happen, we still won’t have a solution to gun violence, school teachers will still be underpaid, manufacturing plants will continue to close, and we will all worry about healthcare.
Invest in news that matters. In stories that matter and impact your community. Follow and get to know your local TV, radio, and newspaper reporters because they are reporting on things that matter in your community. Follow national outlets that have less of a lean or slant to one side or another such as PBS or CSPAN. Do your own due diligence and stop allowing your favorite multimillionaire news personality to tell you how to feel and think. At the end of the day we all want the same things; happiness and safety for ourselves, our families, and our country. We are more alike than we are different, and we are all Americans.