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Can We Ever Trust the Media Again?

Jeff Hall

Posted on June 28, 2017 21:00

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Back in the good old days of journalism, if someone made up a story, it was considered a huge -- and very terrible -- crime. Now it happens all the time.

In today's toxic political climate, it feels like journalists and news organizations see themselves as combatants in a life or death struggle to promote those with whom they agree -- and defeat those with whom they don't.

Opinion now mixes with fact.  Anonymous sources abound.  Anyone with a smart phone can weigh in via social media.  Tweets become news.  It's getting harder and harder to figure out what's real (and what's not) these days.  Writers make stuff up. 

Hardly a day goes by when someone doesn't level a charge of "fake news." 

I've never really understood why news outlets feel it's so important to tell us how to think, act, vote, etc. 

If you KNOW a particular outlet is pro-this or anti-that, doesn't that color the way you view its reporting? 

Twenty six years ago, I started a community newspaper, the Brentwood News.  I swore on Day One we'd never endorse a political candidate, and we never have.  We give all candidates equal time. 

I think, for this reason, the Brentwood News is very well received by the community -- trusted, even.  If people want to express opinions, they can.  We like a healthy give and take. 

TheLatest.com is, in my view, like a community newspaper.

Our community is made up of open-minded people, curious to hear all sides. 

We show you the same political story from the perspective of liberal, moderate and conservative sources.

Then we allow a wide mix of commentators to provide "THE LATEST THINKING" on all this. 

I think it's fascinating to see how different media outlets play the same story. 

Is there media bias?  I think there is -- on all sides.  Sometimes it's blatant; other times, subtle.  But it's there.

But the moment any news organization tries to tell you "WE will tell you what's true and what's not," then that organization's potential bias must be examined: One person's truth can be another person's lie.

We're applying the Brentwood News' philosophy to TheLatest.com.

THE LATEST will show you the full range of sources and opinion. We WANT you to see all sides. But then you have decide what you really think. It wouldn't occur to us to tell you how to think; we have too much respect for you.

We sincerely hope good ideas emerge from this conversation that actually move things forward.

I've seen this happen many times over the years -- some idea proposed and debated in the Brentwood News eventually becomes real. It can take years, but progress eventually occurs. 

Sure, we have disagreements.  But we recognize we're neighbors and eventually figure out a way to move things forward.

Let's apply that kind of thinking to the U.S. -- and even the world.   

Once upon a time, a newsman named Walter Cronkite was called "the most trusted man in America" -- hard to imagine, these days. 

THE LATEST seeks to bring back traditional journalistic values.  We hope to earn your trust each and every day. 

What's old can become new again.

 

Jeff Hall

Posted on June 28, 2017 21:00

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Source: WashPost
5

The case likely hinges on one legal phrase: "actual malice."

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