Richard Craver

Thoughts, Musings And The Occasional Rant

Who Do You Trust For News?

Written By: richardwcraver - Feb• 09•15

This past weekend I went to the funeral of a lady that is connected to my family by marriage, her older sister is married to one of my uncles, her uncle was my grandmother’s brother in law; as well as thirty some years ago I had dated her daughter for a short period of time. I learned of her passing from the daily email that I get from one of the local funeral homes. Yes, I get death notices by email, it seems that the newspapers now charge more for obituaries than many families are willing to pay, and the funeral homes now have websites and make such services available.  The next day my sister posted her passing on the Craver family Facebook page. Virtually all the younger generations of the family are on Facebook and a surprising number of the older generation are as well.

That Saturday afternoon my dad called and asked if I wanted to go out to eat with them, I like eating, so a time was set for me to meet at their house. In the chit-chat I mentioned going to the funeral, they had a blank look, ‘Who died?” was the next question. “Linda’s sister.” “Linda who?” “Linda Craver.” “I didn’t know she died.” This was followed by rustling of newspapers. “I got it in email from the funeral home…”, I began as I was opening Gmail on my phone, following the link to the website and beginning to read the obituary. Meanwhile my dad’s wife was heading outside to the recycle bin looking for older newspapers. I rolled my eyes a little and continued reading while she was shuffling through the old papers saying, “I must have not recognized the name, if I had seen Linda’s name with the family we would have been there.”.

I was thinking about it later, how different generations get their news, who they trust for news. Thelma heard me reading the notice, but it wasn’t real until she read it in the newspaper. Me, I haven’t had a newspaper in years; I listened to talk radio for a number of years on a local radio station, so I found that what I read in the newspaper was a regurgitation of what I had heard on the radio the previous day; it was stale news. In addition I found that most of the columnists had a definite slant in everything that they wrote.

For instance, last week in a neighboring community there was a tragic murder/suicide involving a husband, wife and two children. On the newspaper website the columnist went out of the way to report that the firearm used had a ‘high capacity 17 round magazine’ of which 12 rounds remained, one in the chamber and 4 shells were recovered. The columnist could have just as easily stated that 4 spent cases were recovered at the scene. But chose to push the anti-gun agenda and further point out that a round was in the chamber, which it would be with a semi-auto firearm. There was an agenda in play in the reporting. Unfortunately that is standard operation procedure in mainstream media.

So how do you and I get our news, how can we know it is truthful? Unfortunately much of what we get if from the established media outlets; papers, radio and TV is shaded by a leftist agenda and it’s veracity is dubious. What’s more is as increasing numbers turn to news sources on the internet, they often find the stories are rewritten so as to be original ‘content’ and republished over and over again. Have you ever gone to two, three or more new sites and found the same story, almost to the word? I have. Did one writer produce a column that was copied, or did all the organizations simply repurpose a press release they received by fax or email. Who knows? So how are we to know the truth is being reported? It’s difficult…. here are some things I’ve adopted.

Does a news source openly favor a particular candidate or party? In the 1990’s CNN became known anecdotally as the Clinton News Network as they gave cover for Bill Clinton by reporting stories regarding his scandals in a more favorable light, not reporting or outright publishing information contrary to other reputable media sources.  By comparison Fox News has been maligned as being  Republican shills, however they come down pretty harsh when the Republicans screw up.

When viewing online news sources, do several sites seem to be presenting common talking points. If phrases show up again and again like the ‘high capacity magazine’ mentioned above, or ‘draconian’ cuts in xy&z programs, or ‘women and children will be affected most’; you can be pretty sure you are being spoon-fed someone’s agenda, not being delivered the real news.

Read a paragraph, stop and review, are you being presented facts or the writer’s opinion? Do you have any first hand knowledge of an event or any of the people involved in a story? Does it line up with what is being reported? Read the next paragraph, stop and review. If I see false ‘facts’ I very quickly write off the article and the writer.

Follow the money! If a researcher suddenly discovers some wonderful medication for some dreaded condition, examine if the researcher is paid by the company announcing the medication. They may have a valid product, but their opinion is swayed. I scarcely believe you will have a Chevrolet engineer extolling the benefits of driving a Ford, so why would a researcher on the payroll at Merck tell you that your condition could be treated by a less expensive, more effective, safer product. Advertising and Salesmanship are often disguised as news.

I try to keep an open mind to reporting, but run ideas that are counter to prevailing wisdom or what I believe on a subject with a bit of fact checking. Google can be your friend.

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