Too Much of Nothing

In the 24/7 news cycle, cable news, news websites and social media maintain a constant flood of speculation and opinion masquerading as news.

Ever since college I have been a student of the news and how it is delivered. I like comparing how differing outlets have such differing takes on the same stories. I like dissecting how and if news organizations differentiate their opinion from news and checking on how the fine print of an article can be radically different from what the headline would lead one to believe about a story.

In this era of a president calling out so-called fake news on a daily basis, and the news organizations not hiding the fact that they have no impartiality towards the president (they openly hate him, except FOX which loves him), I am even more fascinated by the way the news business is functioning.

In a recent “bombshell” story from the New York Times on a potential account of possible ice throwing at a bar in college by Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh, they had an opinion writer openly hostile to Kavanaugh assigned to a supposed “news” story, which they later admitted was a mistake. This is Journalism 101. If you can’t even get the basics right, then you will continually open yourself up to the calls of “fake news.”

Meanwhile, in the world of Trump love, FOX News ran five “stories“ under the banner “Lie Detected?” that all uniformly defended Kavanaugh or attacked his accusers, and of course threw in their favorite punching bag Hillary Clinton. Over at CNN, they are into making the “stories” all about themselves.

I strongly agree that a free and vigorous press is a cornerstone of democracy. In fact, they remind us of it with such catchy taglines as “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” “Support Independent Journalism,” and “Fair, Balanced and Unafraid.” That’s why it is so disappointing that the press, when they should be at their factual and straight-forward best, are continually sinking to new lows of journalistic standards.

They need to stop giving ammo to the shouters of “fake news.” Cable news outlets site “reporting” more and more from their opinion shows as investigative journalism. The press may be simply falling into what people want, MMA style battles, us against them reality style smackdowns, but if they want to keep complaining about how they are treated and viewed, they have a responsibility to remain above the fray. At this, they are failing, miserably.

How about reporting news instead of endless speculation? In just one of countless examples, there is the recent supplemental FBI investigation regarding the Kavanaugh confirmation. In the early stages of the investigation there were numerous “news” stories stating that the investigation may or might “wrap up as early as tonight”, “tomorrow morning,” “tomorrow evening,” “this week,” “yesterday,” or “may already be completed.”

Just let me know when it is done, finished, complete. That’s news.  There can be no limit to the amount of quality journalism we should consume, but what we are getting from the press is too much of nothing, and that most definitely makes me feel ill at ease.

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