ALWAYS BE SUSPICIOUS OF THE NEWS

Always be suspicious of the news. Let ABS become a motto.

ABS – serious broadcasters sometimes incorporate their opinions into news stories in a way that makes their slant seem like it is the story. Sometimes they cherry-pick stories to present material they won’t have to spend money on, simply ignoring bigger, more important things, that are harder to cover.

The Internet and Twitter are great ways to spread the news but we must ABS and on the lookout for fake news.

Think about the source of the material, the prioritization of stories and the impact on you and the things you care about; your family, friends, neighbors and beyond. Is the organization likely to fact check the material they put out or are they just pushing a point of view or even outright lying?

ABS – For example, do they talk about a cop shot in the line of duty or cover genocide in far-off Cambodia. Do they call themselves news of the world and spend hours on Ohio River floods, that happen every year, but ignore Brexit and changes in India’s government?

News organizations often ignore is the good news of national harmony and prosperity to favor bad news because they need to profit to survive. The biggest picture is not as jazzy.

Human evolution conditioned us to be more attentive toward danger than toward safety. So commercial broadcasters go in the direction that sells more product: extermination services, home security systems and health care products.

Once upon a time ago, when I recommended a magazine article to my wise friend Dr. Michaelover, he immediately searched the pub for the masthead, because he was concerned about the credentials of the publishers before reading the story. I have often followed his lead on this.

Most people, in my opinion, don’t give a lot of thought to the source of news, and are, therefore, misled by stories about government and politicians. Editorial material masquerades as news.

ABS – As for me, the biggest story ever is relative peace on earth. I have read widely and visited over 25 countries in the last decade; and it was all good. Lands that I visited more than once often improved. For example, Mexico City’s air went from sickening to refreshing, Colombia moved from horrible street begging to engaging vending and food-service businesses. Ireland went from war to peace. Albania rose from a vile dictatorship toward democracy. Dispirit cities of Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates, and Cartagena in Colombia, rose from poverty toward greatness. Three Baltic countries went from the dismal economics of communism to prosperous Eurozone. I didn’t hear those stories on CNN.

Moistly I hear about war and threats of war in far-off places.

SIGNPOSTS:

  • The reports we hear are often biased. This starts because news is controlled by editorial preferences.
  • Vehemence is A sign to look for – I like the expression, “Beware of true believers.”
  • If reports are enhanced with music and sound effects I get annoyed – I ask myself, what are they selling?

TWO SUGGESTIONS:

  1. Always Be Suspicious.
  2. Get your news from more than one source.

My favorite news sources are: The New York Times, CNN, PBS, the broadcast networks, ABC, CBS, NBC AND FOX, The web, BBC and Al Jazeera. They have many faults. Always Be Suspicious. By the way, I read the New Your Times on my phone and tablet.

I have been unable to get Al Jazeera for the past two years. I thought it was because we changed cable providers. Writing this piece led me to do a little research and I got the following info, on-line, from Monkey Cage, a really interesting news organization:

Al Jazeera Network shut down Al Jazeera America. What doomed Al Jazeera America was its decision to offer straight, sober journalism. …the gatekeeping companies it had to appease are highly commercial.

Finally, to be fair, we, the listeners often get stories garbled and pass on an alternative set of facts. So we should beware of our own mistakes too.

I love it that professional journalists get their facts from multiple, independent sources. You and I should do the same.

Hear is an example of the kind of problem that can pop up.

I heard that thirty thousand pigs were swept away by the Ohio River. The actual story was that thirty sows and pigs were washed away. Go figure.

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