Honest News, Fake News, Non-News: A Rant
By M.P. Cremer
You know what they say about opinions, they’re like, something – I can’t really remember the saying – but, we’ve all got them. How do we get these opinions? Furthermore, is it even easy to form an opinion anymore? For me, it’s not so simple; let me tell y’all why.
As a journalist, I was trained to be unbiased in my writing. As a columnist, I was trained to throw this entire concept out the window and share my thoughts with my readers – truth be danged.
However, I, like many columnists, form my opinions on facts. Two years ago, it was enough, but now it’s a bit more complicated. See, at this point in my life it’s hard for me to form an opinion. Not that I don’t have instant gut instincts or values and beliefs I uphold, but because my head spins from hearing and seeing both sides of every argument.
Part of this is because I try to be objective and look at a story from all angles. But for the most part, this is because I can find information and “facts” on just about any subject in the world, from any perspective I want, with data to back up whatever claims I want supported. Better yet, I can do this all at the tip of my fingers with my handy, dandy smart phone.
For instance, let’s take Fox and CNN.
Right about now is where all the conservatives are nodding their heads and saying, “Yes, thank you!” in reference to the opinion Fox tells the truth and CNN is “fake news.”
At this exact moment, though, all the liberals are reacting the same way, except in their minds Fox is fake news and CNN is honest.
The reality of the situation, however, is both networks tell the same stories and sway them to fit whatever their viewership most likely agrees with.
First of all, this is not news – rather, it’s news on a spectrum. What they report may be truthful at its core, but on the outer layers, you’re getting information in the form of an opinion, not fact, much like a standard weekly column or blog post.
Now, you can huff and puff at me all you want about this example, but I have to ask, if you’re a Fox watcher, when was the last time you switched channels and tuned into CNN? If you’re a CNN watcher, do you frequently channel surf on over to Fox? I rest my case.
But you know what, maybe if these scenarios apply to you, you’re better off than me. When I started Activists vs. Agriculture in 2019, I had a farmer on one shoulder and a rancher on the other screaming in my ears to stand up for ag.
Now, the farmer and the rancher are crowded on one shoulder, and on the other shoulder I’ve got a massive, non-GMO touting, gluten free, Netflix documentary referencing, 10 feet tall anti-ag activist weighing me down. Do I agree with the anti-ag monster of a person, pestering me on my shoulder? Heck no! But it’s funny, when I go to find hard facts to blow the giant’s argument out of the water, I have to dig to find a reliable source. I want to chalk it up to fake news, but c’mon people, it’s not even news at this point – it’s just fake.
Don’t blindly trust opinion pieces like blog posts, columns, podcasts, YouTube videos, social media posts – like this column! Who’s to say I don’t share biased data to support the claims I make?
Be skeptical. I try to be positive in every aspect of my life, and I give people the benefit of the doubt until it comes to research. Be skeptical, look for every side of the argument.