Never in the history of the world has it been easier and faster to find out what is happening in virtually every city on the face of the earth. Nor, has there been a time when news reporting has been so erratic and unreliable.
You don’t know what to believe when you read a newspaper, when you listen to the radio, when you watch television news shows or when you access social media. It used to be that reporters and editors adhered to a sacred principle: tell the truth.
But it seems that these days it is “cool” to insert opinion and innuendo into their reportage. It’s gotten so bad that Pope Francis, himself, felt compelled to call out the purveyors of lies in the media. He issued a plain and simple message to them: it’s a sin to tell a lie.
The Pope issues proclamations at the beginning of each New Year cautioning those who report the news against committing “grave sin that hurts the heart of the journalist and hurts others.” His message in 2018 will be issued on January 24, 2018 and, in Francis’ own words, will focus on fake news, a term that has become popular in the White House these days.
Journalists perform a mission that is a fundamental principle of democracy. The Pope said in a preview of his 2018 Message for the media and the world; “You shouldn’t fall into the sins of communication: disinformation, or giving just one side, calumny that is sensationalized, or defamation, looking for things that are old news and have been dealt with and bringing them to light today.”
I believe that there may be some men and women engaged in reporting the news who may take the Pope’s message to heart. But, I also believe that those so-called journalists who are more concerned about getting their own selfish viewpoints aired in public will continue to spew untruths.
So, how do you tell who is telling the truth and who is not? One way is to look for balanced reporting. If the story is always against someone, chances are you’re listening to someone who is biased.
It is up to each and every one of us to discover the most reliable sources of news by doing the research and checking the facts. It is not an easy task because the manipulators of news are good at what they do and what they do is practice the sin of yellow journalism-sensationalized, crudely exaggerated fake news.
The vast amount of information that is available to us in the 21st Century carries with it a warning: let the buyer beware.
Dan Weber is president of The Association of Mature American Citizens, (http://www.amac.us) a senior advocacy organization that acts and speaks on behalf of its members. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of this paper or its corporate ownership.