The problem isn’t fake news, it’s abandonment of news – here’s how to fix it

Last month, a man named Adolph Hitler Uunona was vigorously elected in a Namibian regional election. The result is not as bad as it might appear at a glance; Namibia was colonized by Germany early last century, the place had German presence heavier than schnitzel, and his father “probably didn’t understand what Adolph Hitler stood for.” In a poignant bit of statesman oratory, the newly elected official soothed the world: “It doesn’t mean I’m striving for world domination.” Thanks to brave pioneers like this, the world may one day again be populated with Adolphs.

Have to admit, I enjoyed that bit of news. Because it was news. And because it’s, well, kind of funny.  But why does most news these days leave us enraged? 

Both ends of the political spectrum accuse the other’s media “side” of fake news. In politics, this sick sport is legendary, and has grown like a vine that covers the world. Climate change/the environment have been dragged into it, and now COVID. The “news” has been debased; it is no longer news.  Part of this is business, and part is partisanship that is hard to reverse. In the old days of news, real news, there were newspapers that reported on what happened, and there was value in that because citizens had no other way of learning about distant, real events. 

We’ve seen this blow up with energy. Twenty years ago, tentative renewable energy projects started appearing, wonderful curiosities that indicated a hint of a future of clean energy. Since then, the media has stoked up a roaring fire around climate change, creating division, friction, and all-out war between camps that simply have different visions about when the world will transform to a different form of fuel than hydrocarbons (which run the whole place). Everyone in the oil industry knows that cheap oil won’t last forever, and that we’ll be on to something else, when there is something else that is as effective and as price competitive. 

But the media has instead created a pit of mortal combat, egging each side on to generate headlines. This demented process has gotten even more repulsive with the arrival of Covid.

In Alberta (and truthfully in most places), a mini-war is raging about the government’s response to the pandemic. 

“You’re not doing enough!”

“You’re doing too much!”

The media loves this, eagerly chasing down anything confrontational. It’s disgusting, and unnecessary. All one has to do to see this is to put themselves in the position, the real position, of a decision maker tasked with overseeing a challenge the likes of which the world has never seen, all while keeping the whole show going.

What if a news outlet, a real news outlet, was to examine the genesis of these two viewpoints. Are the viewpoints really pro-maskers vs. anti-maskers? Are there really two camps, one that wants to shut down the economy, and one that wants to ignore Covid?

We can’t get to any answers here via the media, because they’re in the middle of the profitable little war they’ve created. But let’s view it a bit more rationally, and maybe try to understand what might lie under each perspective.

There is a camp that says we are not taking Cover seriously enough. They are right, from their perspective. They are people that are facing the possibility of overwhelming numbers in hospitals, people that are tasked with administering school responses, people tasked with trying to figure out how to deal with a virus that no place on earth has been able to do successfully (except…China…media silence here is astonishing). If you were faced with making decisions that could impact a lot of lives in a lot of ways, wouldn’t you want more help from authorities?

Let’s go to the other camp. Are all those people rabidly against wearing masks, and utterly indifferent to human suffering Covid is causing? Or, are they maybe small business owners faced with losing everything? From this viewpoint, it’s infuriating to hear people calling for a complete shutdown of business when those people will still get a paycheque every week. Would people change camps if their pay was cut off during a lockdown? And not just their pay – what about their retirement? A government worker may get paid all through a lockdown, and retain that handsome pension somewhere down the road. A small business owner may lose his paycheque and his life savings, and, for the self-employed, any retirement beyond abject poverty is all up to you.

Of course there are hard cases on either side that can’t understand anything else. But most people are not in those camps. Most people can recognize the incredible challenge of balancing the economy and the response, in an unprecedented pandemic. Extremists should not have been empowered and encouraged, because it has cost us a useful media world. 

Media needs a reinvention. They need to report on things that actually did occur, and if they must pontificate about what it means, should have two articulate and rational viewpoints, given equal space, and without the media-inserted innuendo and biases.

Then maybe people would start caring about the news again.



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  1. info hungry says:

    While i disagree with the statement that Fake news isn’t a problem, I believe reinventing the news would do the world a tremendous favour. Unfortunately far too many of our youth and adult viewers have lost the ability for critical thinking. Headlines form beliefs; causing major emotional damage and the ability to have simply discussions is quickly becoming lost and even dangerous. I have been searching trying to find news sources that simply reported the facts. Don’t think this exists anymore! Of course having sites that analyse and give commentary/opinion pieces could also be useful keeping in mind that full disclosure should be made at the beginning of each of these types of news media.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jess says:

    The truth doesn’t need any input, opinion, or has two sides. The media needs to stop being lying, corrupt bastards, and do their job of reporting facts.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. John Chittick says:

    I’m not sure that one can describe the Canadian media as consisting of some kind of bipolar entity. You have the mainstream, now federally bought-off, monocultural, institutionally leftist, over-saturated, legacy media with the possible exception of NP. Against this are internet based, cottage industry, crowd-funded, bloggers, mostly hobby-journalists. They cover what the institutional left has either avoided or censored (social media) and counter with alternative narratives including a few whackos and conspiracy theorists. That Trudeau has gotten away with destroying the essence as well as the optics of a free press with barely a peep from the Canadian public speaks volumes of their ovine nature. No media in North America is as unabashedly leftist as the CBC and yet Trudeau has funded it’s private sector and therefore politically redundant clones to ensure their survival or at least the employment of their UNIFOR partisans.

    All Media needs a dose of social Darwinism after being cut loose from the taxpayer’s purse before any “reinvention” is possible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Terry Etam says:

      Its not just Canadian media, its all media. Reuters used to be respectable, for example, yet even they’ve joined the parade of “what it all means” pseudo journalism, and when they fall into that rut they seem to inevitably take on a political hue, which means taking sides, which means the whole f—-ing thing becomes useless.
      I stick mainly to energy, because i know it quite well – heading for 30 years of varied experience. It is critical that independent voices that understand how things work speak up when the media promulgates nonsense unchecked. Activists know how to play the media very well.
      I don’t know that media reinvention is possible. But there should be room for a new entrant or two to revolutionize reporting and, ironically, move it back in time to what it was 80 years ago.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Lorne Babenek says:

    I look at all sources with a critical eye, but wondering where do you, or the folks below go for reliable news related info? I have tried many and all seem opinion based. Would be interesting to see if folks have found something. BBC is what i tend to look at for headline news?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Terry Etam says:

      Good question. I have not found anything. I make do, as far as sussing out real news, with scanning headlines for things that actually happened. I know headlines are sensationalized so i try to ignore the messaging to zero in on an actual event if there was one.
      Reuters and BBC used to be not bad, but both seem to have taken leave of any sense of objectivity.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. […] Media needs a reinvention, because it’s becoming ever more irrelevant. What if they got back to…news? Read on… […]

    Liked by 1 person

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