Sunday, May 1, 2016

How gullible are we?

When I decided to enter the literary industry, I didn’t have any idea how I was going to convey my thoughts over the topics that would cross my desk.  Initially, I began writing commentaries about whatever moved me at the moment.  This led to the discovery of something that every journalist should think of before putting fingers to keyboard.  It’s the one thing that is at times missing from news reporting in general…and that thing is honesty in writing.

Freedom of the press has given itself free reign over when and how it delivers news.  But somehow that has changed into news being delivered in a manner that we not only want to receive, but also the means of which it is delivered. 

The attention span of the average American citizen is short.  We want information but we only want what we are truly interested in and in most cases that interest has to be something that we agree with.

Objectivity in news reporting has gone to the extreme, at times reporting what we want to hear when we want to hear it.  If we want to hear that something or someone is bad, we simply turn the channel to the network that will support our belief regardless of whether it is right, wrong or otherwise.

You’ll find news media outlets that will report an event and put their own spin on the circumstance to support whatever their watchers happen to believe.  And unfortunately, this is happening with an alarming frequency.  Often you’ll see the same story being reported on two different channels and you wonder “How did they ever get there?”  Maybe they report some facts while leaving out others.  And if that be the case, is this truly the norm in reporting?  Do we willingly believe what is being spoon fed to us because we truly trust that what is being said is the truth, or do we hope it is the version of the truth that we want to believe?

It brings into question what we as a society hold dear as truth.  Do we believe the truth no matter what?  Or do we use our own intelligence and search for the answers that often times elude us, hiding behind a thin veil of what can be construed as honest reporting?

Someone once said that there are two sides of a story, and then there is the truth.

I’ve become leery of any new media outlet that reports a view point that leans too far to the left or right.  Instead, I try to remain objective and research issues that directly pertain to me when time permits.

In contrast, many of us don’t have the time to research the reporting given to us.  It is simply easier to believe what is being told to us without question or thought.  But do we believe what is told to us because it suits our belief system?  Is it easier to believe that things are chaotic when in fact things may be normal?  Do we believe that we are suffering when we are not?

I am watching the presidential campaign from a distance while simultaneously conducting my personal research.  It is necessary to do so to maintain my objectivity as a journalist.  I am not a fan of Donald Trump, but I believe that I have an idea as to why his campaign has gained the momentum that it has and it ties directly to the very topic of this article.

People are angry and they want to believe someone that speaks to their emotions of late.  And if someone speaks to that emotion it will strike a chord with that individual, no matter who that person may be.  There is a general consensus in this country that something has been lost and that our government has perhaps taken something from us.  Some of us will blame the president and his policies.  Some of us may blame the previous administration.  And still, some of us may blame the parties that were instrumental in creating the circumstances that we are in right now.  We can blame the Republicans, Democrats or a combination of the two.

Most of us will not.  We will blame one faction and hold onto whatever shred of proof to support our belief…even if the proof is thin.

I want fairness and equality for everyone in this country.  Everyone should have access to success, peace and prosperity.  That is not something given to only a choice few.

So as I watch the race for the Whitehouse continue, I will continue to do my research, listen to news reporting as it is given, but at the end of the day, I will make up my own mind as to who is speaking the truth as well as who is speaking a lie.

After all, that is my right.

J.L. Whitehead

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