The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth
Impediments to accurate news reporting and one possible solution to the problem (“fat chance!” you say?)
“As media companies become more and more reliant on subscription revenue, they evolve to telling the readers what they want to hear.” I quote Aaron Mishkin here. Mishkin is the man former President Trump would have fired, if he could have, for calling election results in certain states for Biden. Mishkin is considered by most Democrats and even some Republicans to be an honest and qualified interpreter of political data.
He is stating the obvious: If most of the customers at a Starbucks want a blueberry muffin with their morning brew, the 6:00 a.m. shift will not overfill the display case with cheese, onion, and garlic bagels. If you’re teaching a 4th-grade class of boys who love cars, most of the math problems you hand out may include words like “gallons” and “brake.” If you’re the publisher of a news outlet deciding on the stories to broadcast today, your first consideration may be newsworthiness, but after that, it will certainly be what your readers want to hear.
So last year, Fox News and One America News reported on President Trumps’ executive order aimed at lowering the cost of prescription drugs and included a flattering video of him with his red tie in front of the red stripes on five American flags behind him. They did this because their subscribers can’t get enough of the great man. Meanwhile, CNN and MSNBC, reporting the same story, pointed out that drug prices have to be negotiated with the pharmaceutical industry and may not be lowered just because Trump says they will be.
So far, so good; most of us already know that Fox News, One America News, and other so-called “news” outlets are in the business of telling it like it isn’t. We know, too, that CNN and MSNBC are in the business of telling the truth.
Or do we?
I am confident that CNN and MSNBC, and other real news outlets as well, are telling “the truth” and “ nothing but the truth. What I’m concerned about, and what this article is about, is “ the whole truth.” Is anything being left out of the news I hear because viewers may be upset at hearing it and may cancel their…