This past week several videos surfaced that seemed to suggest that weather reporters may have, on occasion, made a specific storm appear worse that it actually was at that time. Full disclosure- I have not spent any time researching them, so I honestly don’t know if there are logical explanations for them or not. What I DO know is that it wouldn’t matter one bit to the folks shouting “Fake news” the loudest about it.
The fact is, most of the time when someone yells “Fake News” what they really mean is “this story makes my candidate/ party/ position look bad”, even when the story is actually 100% factual. Much of this stems from Trump, usually makes this often dubious claim several times a week. But how did we get to this point?
I blame 24 cable news. When the news was 30 minutes long there was no time for op-eds or commentary. There was a lot to get through and only a short time to do it. But the anchors and reporters did in fact get to all the top stories of the day – and usually even had time for a “feel good” light-hearted piece at the end! But with 24 hours to fill, there’s time for all kinds of commentary, “expect” analysis, special guests, etc. And many people have a very difficult time differentiating what is essentially a talk show from the actual news broadcasting. It could be argued the networks often don’t often make this distinction well either, compounding the problem.
Things have gotten so bad that if you want to read/ view truly neutral, unbiased news it’s hard to know where to turn. Currently, neither of what are arguably the two best English language news networks are US-based, They are the CBC out of Canada and the BBC out of England- long the gold standard for new reporting, and for a good reason. Also, the CBC has MUCH better Olympic coverage that any US network has in decades- they show more actual athletes competing instead of irritating fluff pieces.
But if going that route isn’t your thing, your best bet is to go back to your local 30 (or 60) minute broadcasts. Yes, many of their parent companies swing one way or the other politically, but your local anchors are remarkably neutral at the vast majorities of stations across the country. Their cohorts who’ve “made it big” could learn a lot from them. As could an awful lot of other people.