I’m just going to cut to the chase here.
I’ve been a journalist in one form or another since 1996, and I love what I do, but I’ve been on more than a few occasions frustrated because truth has gone the way of the Stellar’s Sea Cow.
Wait a minute. Those animals are no longer extinct. The truth is more like a passenger pigeon.
I believe in facts, no matter where they lead. I believe in research and due diligence. I believe in checking and rechecking all of my sources to make sure I provide to my readers the most accurate information possible.
However, we have a significant number of hideous actors who choose not to be as scrupulous as I am. They live to produce disinformation, which serves no other purpose than shock value, or to push an ideological opinion their readers believe – no matter how devoid of facts.
This is precisely what makes me want to throw stuff at my computer, or throw it into the Mississippi altogether. These people make real journalists like myself look bad, because the purveyors of “fake news” are lumped into the same box as us.
How did we get to this point? Was it the invention of the 24-hour news cycle? Was it the rise of the bloggers? Was it a product of the economic collapse of 2008 that shut down many newspapers?
The late senator from New York, Daniel Moynihan famously said, “you are entitled to your opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.” Yet, we’re stuck in a post-truth phenomenon where conspiracy theories have replaced research and common sense.
Facts no longer matter because they don’t match the ideologies of the people who read them. The truth is ignored, because it isn’t pretty. It cannot be wrapped in a pretty pink bow, and paraded around like canines at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
The truth is scary. It’s not Mary Poppins, but Jason Voorhees. It’s not a soft blanket, but cold, hard ground.
People would rather believe convenient lies than inconvenient truths, because the lies match their beliefs. Falsehoods make them feel warm and fuzzy inside. Truths make them feel nauseous, because they would actually have to look into the mirror and face reality.
The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius once said, “…Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”
Facts don’t belong to you, or me. They are their own entity.
I’ve used them as part of my livelihood for over two decades, and I don’t plan on sacrificing my ethics by turning my back on them to “catch up” with the unscrupulous.
That would be betraying my profession, and I would become what I detest most – one of them!
All I can do, however, is report the cold, hard facts based on my research. It’s up to you, the readers to decide what’s the truth.
You don’t have to take me at my word for anything. All I ask is you do your own credible research and make sound decisions.
In the end, the choice is ultimately yours…