Alan Webber: Mark Twain right about newspapers

August 21, 2018

“If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed. If you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.”

I’m not sure what events of the period prompted the irascible Mark Twain to quote those words but, similar to most of his quips, the words seem to ring true today.

One would think that any news publication worth its salt would print or broadcast news fairly and balanced. The news organization also might offer assessments from both sides of any newsworthy item. Unfortunately, that is not the case in most instances.

Most of the people at any media organization see the world from a different point of view than more than half their audience.

According to a 2018 Gallup poll, the American population considers themselves to be 40 percent conservative and 25 percent liberal, with the rest seeing themselves as moderate. However, it has been estimated 85 percent of all journalists lean left.

Ironically, or in my opinion, woefully, that is about the same number of liberals as our educators in colleges and universities.

The reason, as one newspaper insider informed me, is the way universities grind out students. Young journalists enroll in college with little to no political persuasion, meet a wave of near-socialist educators and graduate as full-fledged liberals, blindly hurtling toward socialism themselves.

For the record, I still believe socialism is anti-American, and it is this trend that is so concerning to me.

Unfortunately, fair and balanced doesn’t seem to be a standard anymore, if it ever was. Tabloids, such as The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and even the mighty New York Times, have gone off the rails, suffering monumentally from TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome.)

The Post is owned by Jeff Bezos, the world’s wealthiest person, who bought the paper in 2013 for $250 million. Bezos also founded Amazon, the retail behemoth Bernie Sanders pointed out correctly, pays no federal tax.

The Post, a flagship arm for “The Swamp,” has been around since 1877 — and never has endorsed a Republican for president.

The Tribune was founded in 1847 as an anti-Democratic newspaper. It never endorsed a Democrat for president until Chicagoan Barack Obama ran in 2008 — a span of 161 years.

They employ perhaps the best opinion writer in the business with John Kass, always found on page 2. From there, the rest of the paper is a parade of articles and op-eds committed to bashing Donald Trump, the guy the Tribune didn’t endorse.

One would think, while sitting in the nation’s murder capital and in a city that hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1931, the newspaper would have plenty of bashing to report on right within its own county.

The Times — Should I waste your time explaining? If one doesn’t know the Times is decidedly liberal, one shouldn’t really be voting.

Google their recent hire of technology writer Sarah Jeong to their editorial board. Read about her detailed hatred of white folks. Had she used any other color than white, she would have been tarred and feathered … and unemployed. While browsing, read something by socialist Paul Krugman. What kind of fair and balanced reporting do you think might come from this organization?

These are just a few examples of major media companies and their contempt for conservatism and/or Trump.

If the leaders are doing this, wouldn’t it follow that others are practicing journalism with an agenda also?

Ponder the fact 92 percent of all of Trump’s media coverage has been negative, despite the many positive changes he has accomplished.

Right here in this paper, it could be said the editorial staff and writers’ content lean decidedly to the left … some to the point of having TDS themselves. Yet, the five counties the Journal primarily serves all voted decidedly for Trump. You might want to think about that the next time a headline or editorial is kicking our president again, particularly if the content has been outsourced from The Post or The Associated Press.

Also, do you scan headlines looking for columns of interest to decide what to read? More often than not, the author did not write the headline. The editor did.

Slapping on a laissez-faire biased headline might dissuade people from reading an acerbic but well-written commentary … such as mine, which might relegate it to the bottom of the bird cage. For that reason, only scanning headlines for worthwhile news might be a disservice to you and your understanding of what really is going on around you.

In conclusion, I am reminded of another quote we should never forget. Nazi Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels stated, “Let me control the media, and I will turn any nation into a herd of pigs.”

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