If someone asks you where you get your news, and you reply, "I like Fox News", then you are branded a right wing wacko. If you say, " I watch MSNBC, I love Rachel Maddow", then you are perceived as an Obama Loving, left wing nutcase. Not only, is our country divided, but our media outlets are polarized just the same. When you refer to a news outlet, online or on tv, you always associate that particular outfit with a political ideology. Fox News, is said to be "Fair and Balanced", but many consider that to be more of a catch phrase, than a literal reference. My problem with all of these labels, and biases, is that fact finding journalism, as it existed some time ago, has ceased to exist. Even if you have a story that is investigated thoroughly, with much objectivity, you still have those that disagree, that tend to call it "partisan", or biased. How do you filter through all of the different news stories, without being deceived? The answer, can be traced all the way back to our country's founding, with the concept of "individual responsibility". We will not maintain an informed electorate, by consuming and regurgitating information at random. We must take the responsibility of verifying information, through credible sources, and common sense. If you see something in writing, that doesn't pass your smell test, then you need to dig some more. This is the only way to navigate through a sea of misinformation, because a statement or claim, made over and over again, does not make it true, nor does it make that statement untrue. Reality, is the deciding factor, or in other words, what is true.
Truth and reality can also become distorted. The two terms sound pretty straight forward, but with global news on a 24 hour news cycle, you can't be everywhere at once, so you have to take someone else's word for what is going on in a country on the other side of the planet. However, you have legitimate news outlets that will report statistics, from a study or article, that uses charts, graphs, and/or numbers, that omit relevant information, in an attempt to push a chosen agenda. I find that the best way to fact check this propaganda, is the relevant government website with the pertinent information. With all of the deception, that the government is guilty of, their information on their .gov websites is usually very accurate, like an online National Archives. They just never count on intelligent citizens, using it for reference. Always remember, that the government feeds on ignorance, they count on it.
So, is our 24 hour news cycle obsolete, or is their potential for a resurrection of honest, objective journalism? Let me use a real life example to highlight one of the more effective ways to debunk false statements or stats. We still hear liberals talk about the so called "Bill Clinton budget surplus", 15 years after the fact. President Clinton has maintained the deity status, given to him by democrat party hacks, based on the illusion that has been repeated on all news outlets, including Fox News, with no rebuttal, or attempt to correct these false statements. The claim is that Bill Clinton's final 2001 budget had a negative deficit, putting us in the green, thus giving us a surplus, is false, The smoke and mirrors used to pull it off, were crafted in order to create something that wasn't there. We go to www.treasury.gov , and we start looking around, and we find that the National Debt, currently over 18.1 trillion , has two components; intra governmental spending and public debt. Clinton decreased the public debt, but he increased government spending significantly, cancelling out the decrease in public debt, and adding billions more. Many sources that try to make this claim, show the numbers, as they relate to public debt, but they omit the government spending stats. In some cases they list the government spending numbers as,"not available" That seems to me to be much more than disingenuous. Clinton's last budget(2001), handed George W. Bush a $133.29 billion deficit. I have a hard time referring to that as a surplus.
You have to choose your sources wisely. You must have access to multiple sources, and be able to sift through fact and fiction. The so called, "Mainstream Media" is only mainstream, because it is the slop that is fed to the masses, via the partisan trough. But unlike the hog, we, as free men and women, have the ability to turn away and say, "I'm not eating that", or at least pay attention to what is going in our mouth before we swallow it. Sometimes it seems as if the media has made itself obsolete, by giving way to partisan bias, and ignoring facts.