Trust Reporters - Truth Is Their Job

The New York Times recently spoke out in an editorial - which was written by the paper’s opinion arm, not by those in the newsroom - decrying the awful term, “fake news,” and pleading for us to rely on journalists and journalism for truth.

At a time when unsubstantiated falsehoods are uttered, relentlessly, in Washington and in televised commentaries carried across our airwaves, we need to understand that reporters seek and print/post/broadcast facts they have gathered.

Please read this, carefully. The subject is all too serious. Our nation needs your attention. The November 30 editorial is titled, “Who Will Tell the Truth About the Free Press?” and begins,

Concocting fake news to attract eyeballs is a habitual trick of America’s New York Times, and this newspaper suffered a crisis of credibility for its fakery,” the Chinese government declared after The Times broke the news this month of government documents detailing the internment of Uighurs, Kazaks and other Muslims in the northwestern region of Xinjiang.

Who would have guessed that history had such a perverse development in store for us? As the historian Timothy Snyder has written in The Times, Adolf Hitler and the Nazis came up with the slogan “Lügenpresse” — translated as “lying press” — in order to discredit independent journalism. Now the tactic has been laundered through an American president, Donald Trump, who adopted the term “fake news” as a candidate and has used it hundreds of times in office.

See also: Free Press

Please know that the term “fake news,” is a lie in itself. News known to be false is called propaganda, which is the predominant source of information in authoritarian nations, such as Russia and China.

Please read and listen to genuine news from a variety of trusted sources. My personal broadcast favorites are National Public Radio and the PBS NewsHour; for print it’s The New York Times and The Washington Post, as well as my hometown Virginia and Illinois newspapers and public radio stations.

As a former reporter, I trust the reporters in each of these operations; further, I know their work is overseen by a series of editors, who check all facts in each reporter’s story before it is uttered or printed.

We should worry that our president and his emissaries angrily share things they know are complete lies. Without facts and truth we become just another dark dictatorship. (See also: Dark)

News options–

National: NPR, PBS NewsHour, The New York Times, The Washington Post.
Local: The Arlington Connection, The (Illinois) State Journal-Register, WAMU-FM and WUIS-FM.

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