Trust the news? I’m not sure anymore

December 1, 2016   ·   0 Comments

If anything, the recent presidential election in the good old U. S. of A. proved that it’s time to start looking for new sources for reliable and unbiased reporting.

The mess of misinformation, biased coverage, and opinionating by so-called national journalists now calls into question what is really happening in large news gathering operations and who is pulling the strings and paying for news coverage.

Obviously, a  lot of Americans and many other people around the world were stunned when Donald Trump received the needed Electoral College votes to claim a victory in the U.S. presidential election.

The last time such a stunning turnaround in a U.S. election took place was probably the  Dewey verses Truman presidential run of 1948.

So sure that Republican Thomas Dewey would win that election, some newspapers printed banner headlines declaring a Dewey victory. The result was the now-famous photograph of Harry S. Truman, the newly re-elected president, holding a copy of the Chicago Tribune  with the headline “Dewey defeats Truman.”

While that debacle can be blamed on poor reporting and arrogance on the part of news publishers, the failure of  pre-election coverage of this current vote cannot be explained by a sudden last-minute shift at the polls.

Why were so many people surprised at the outcome of the vote after all the polls reported at the national news level indicated Hillary Clinton would become the first female president of the U.S.?

Maybe it’s because the polls were either completed incorrectly or maybe because the results were not accurately reported.

Why were national news outlets reporting the result of polls that differed drastically to polls by smaller, independent sources at the local level?

Numerous times through that campaign, national news anchors reported that Clinton was leading in some swing states by several percentage points. And yet a check with local sources revealed the exact opposite in the very same locations. 

There were many reports released from smaller sources indicating the polls were wrong and yet no news networks followed through with that information.

In the end, a final check revealed the numbers reported by the large polling institutions were way off.

Of course every pollster had an excuse, none of which seemed to make a lot of sense. News reporters at large American networks also tried to toss out some answers, but again, talking in circles is not an answer.

As pre-election coverage began to heat up in the weeks prior to the big day, so did the rhetoric.

It almost seemed like reporters and major anchors on the news had gone to the Joseph Goebbels school of broadcasting over the summer where they learned that if you keep repeating something over and over and over again in a public venue, sooner or later the public will start to believe it.

Fortunately, the American public rose above and voted their conscience and did not buy into the network propaganda.

The use of inflammatory buzzwords was employed over and over again and edited reports of interviews with voters repeatedly used interviews that contained the same catchy words.

While the large networks were clearly playing a game and trying to skew the vote, some smaller outlets were attempting to play on a more level reporting field.

I saw a small camera crew interview a group of African-American Trump supporters at one of the political rallies. They expressed their reasons for voting Republican in a well-stated manner and said many of their friends felt the same say.

However, when the big boys, in this case reporters from CNN, arrived at the rally they refused to interview this group and the final footage of the rally was edited to eliminate every black face in the crowd.

Whether African Americans were voting one way or the other shouldn’t matter. What should matter is their voices as voters be heard and not edited out because a network doesn’t want their agenda messed up.

These large networks have lost a huge amount of credibility over the past year and can no longer be trusted as independent sources of news.

The public, no matter what their political leanings are, deserve and expect the media to provide the news, not propaganda.

You can bet Walter Cronkite wouldn’t have fallen into the trap of editorializing the nightly news in his political favour.

But that was then and this is now.

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