Being informed takes work

Do you feel you are well-informed about what is going on in the country? If you answer yes, you probably read a newspaper. And you probably watch network news. Or maybe you check out the news on a network’s website.

Suppose you do no more than that. If so, my guess is that you miss a lot of news.

That guess is based on a small trip I made this week. A trip around the media. You might like to try it. It might surprise you.

First I read the leading story on a network news website. Big headlines regarding a big political scandal.

I switched to another network’s site. No sign of the story. Tried another network site. No story. And two more sites. No luck.

This happens all the time. For any number of reasons. The liberal networks will simply ignore stories that make conservatives drool. The conservative network (Fox) will ignore items that excite liberals.

Newspapers often do the same. Some do. Big papers like the New York Times and Washington Post. They frequently ignore big stories. Or they shrink them. And bury them on back pages. They do this when the story will embarrass their favorite political figures. Or when the story goes against a line the paper has taken on an issue.

Beyond this, media use tricks. They skew news left or right. Let’s say a liberal candidate has a dust up with a protester. The story in liberal media is that the candidate put the protester in his place. The story in conservative media is that the protester embarrassed the candidate.

Meanwhile, media often commit fraud. Katie Couric was caught at it recently. She edited a video to add an 8-second pause. To make guys look dumbstruck at her question. When in fact they answered her question immediately. Fraud. She is hardly the first.

Lately the White House and State Department have been caught manipulating news in similar fashion.

In short, there’s a whole lotta manipulation out there in media land. Many in the media try to mislead you. Many try to keep news from you. Many try to distort the news before it reaches you. Many will commit outright fraud in order to push their point of view.

Now, you may not care. But maybe you do. Maybe you want to be well-informed. Especially during election campaigns. If you do, you had better check out Fox News as well as another network. (The others are mostly more liberal.)

Maybe you read newspapers and you want a more comprehensive view. Then check out the Washington Times as well as the Washington Post. Try the New York Post in addition to the New York Times.

Online, check out the Huffington Post as well as the Drudge Report. Toss in Breitbart as well. Try RealClearPolitics. It offers stories on both sides of every political issue.

With magazines, try The Week. It delivers opinion on opposite sides of issues.

Most of us have scratched our heads over this: Talking with a friend, we mention something that has been very much in the news. The friend has never heard of the item. How can this be, we wonder? This has been in the news for months. The reason is that you have been watching only Fox News and he has been watching only CNN.

If you want to be well-informed you will have to work at it. Watching one network’s news won’t do it. Reading one newspaper won’t either.

Meanwhile, if you are interested in only half of the big picture…that is pretty easy to do. Any network, any big newspaper will be happy to accommodate you.

From Tom…as in Morgan.

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