Everyone is a Journalist Today

In a world of media bias and non-journalistic sources lacking credentials, how do we separate the wheat from the chaff, the truth from a lie?

A broken clock is right once a day.

Even “fake news” has pieces of facts contained in it.

Once in a while, a journalist may get it right. Actually, they may get it partially right and partially wrong and this is why they succeed.

Thus media voices driven by agenda, which no longer report events dispassionately; they insert their opinions and spin the event to support their position.

If there were but one ordinary, simple, dry delivery of the events of the day, without commentary- it could free us of this propaganda induced society.

We would be able to think for ourselves. If only facts were stated like a grocery checklist, boring and without feeling. The only thing necessary to give the facts any sense would be context.

I remember my parents watching the news as a child. It was so dry and boring. Remember Walter Cronkite?

Cronkite

Today it’s a show, it’s ratings, it’s looking sexy and attractive, and it’s arguing around a table and interviewing a person that gets cut off every sentence. It’s playing a game of “gotcha” and taking your words out of context.

I did some research on press and journalist credentials. As it turns out, most major and even minor news media outlets posses these credentials for the entire organization. Additionally, individual journalists can obtain said credentials on their own. When a journalist is going to write a story either in their own country or abroad, they need these credentials. They also need a letter from their affiliate to legitimize that they are doing a story. This can be done on corporate letterhead signed by a senior editor or producer with a current date.

Thanks to websites and social media, a freelance writer with no journalist or press credentials can do everything a credentialed one can do. In fact, an ordinary person who is not a writer can do all of this as well. This is both good and bad.

The Good:

An individual can go somewhere with an iPhone, take pictures, make a video and interview a person, thus creating ANY story they want and simply upload it to Youtube or Facebook. The world can see raw footage that is uncensored. A person can travel anywhere in the world and have an intimate experience, then share it publicly. Many discoveries about events, cultures and people have been shared in this way, that otherwise may not have occurred.

The Bad:

An individual can go somewhere with an iPhone, take pictures, make a video and interview a person, thus creating ANY story they want and simply upload it to Youtube or Facebook. The world can see raw footage that is uncensored. A person can travel anywhere in the world and have an intimate experience, then share it publicly. Many discoveries about events, cultures and people have been shared in this way, that otherwise may not have occurred.

I literally just copied and pasted the same thing for both the good and the bad. Do you see where I’m going with this?

 It’s sad really, for those journalists who are creditable, ethical and talented. Imagine your entire professional genre being hijacked by a bunch of tourists and wannabes.

kermit cnn

Here is something else to consider-

What about organizations that seek truth and expose it? Yet they are hated because it looks like and smells like prefabricated propaganda.

Here’s an example:

An NGO (yes there are like 40,000 of them here in Israel and it feels like meddling more than helping) strives to help Palestinians file police reports when they or they’re property are attacked by settlers.

Yes there are lies, exaggerations and half-truths where they tell you what happened to them, but not what happened right BEFORE the violent attack or action.

My observation is there are two sides to every story and usually an ugly action is a REACTION to something else that happened.

One does not always justify the other. Yet this place reminds me of what Americans call “the wild west”. People take matters into their own hands. Disputes between people and intersecting villages are handled in a tribal fashion. This is because we are not in the U.S.; we are in the Middle East- cultural norms matter and must be examined, not judged.

When you are reading your “news”, whether it be Twitter, Facebook, a newsletter from an organization, main-stream news outlets or a small independent source that is not affiliated with any journalistic or press agencies- just remember something:

It has become a free for all. The term “creditable” no longer carries any weight because it has become a subjective term. The credentialed journalists have crossed a line and become biased. The ordinary Joe on vacation uploading a video he took on his iPhone is viewed as creditable. A person who writes for a blog (like mine) is viewed creditable when people can corroborate my story, yet it is uncreditable when my story goes against the Hasbara script.

How are we ever suppose to know what is true, what is distorted and what is a flat out lie? You will not know. I am sorry I do not have a foolproof way for you to be 100% certain all the time.

Here is what you can do: Instead of reading ABOUT the conflict, meet the people who are IN the conflict. Instead of surrounding yourself with those whom you agree with, surround yourself with those whom you disagree with. Rather than joining bandwagons and perpetuating groupthink, hang out with people who exhibit otherness, those who are very different from you.

If you visit Israel, go where you have never been. Visit people you met online where you do not share the same opinions at all.

Listen. Do a ton of listening, not talking, not interrupting, not even thinking, just listening.

working-on-listening-skills

I realize I have identified a specific topic here, but it is applicable to all news, all over the world of every kind. I have come to learn that things are not always as they seem. There is an exception to every rule and all generalizations are false- including the one I just made.

Lastly, there is something I call “giving up the right to be right.” This means that when you want to learn and grow, there are times when being right is not the goal. In fact, if that is always your goal, you will never learn anything new. There are times in life when being right will not help you, it will not save anyone or change anything. Clinging to being right can be rather useless and divisive. Being right comes with an ego and a self-driven phenomenon to feed that ego.

My father was obsessed with being right and we do not have a relationship today because of it. Being right is of greater value to him than having his daughter participating in his life. I once told him many years ago that I hoped being right kept him warm at night and would keep him company in the grave. I hoped that being right was worth not having a family. He will die a lonely man, but he will be right…

What does that story have to do with news media sources? It has everything to do with it. It is at its core about the ego. When someone posts a story, regardless of the source or subject matter, they are saying – “hey, look at me, I have something important to share and my opinions on it are going to be stated because I think others should hear me.” This idea that what we feel or think is important and must be expressed at lighting speed 24/7 is the epitome of ego. Oh but that is precisely what I am doing now, right? No.

Here is why:

We are bending over backwards and putting relationships with others on the line in defense of our OPINIONS. In fact, we are defending with intense rage, love, hate and sorrow deep emotional attachments about subject matters as benign as vegan food or a place we have never visited. We are aggressively shouting our opinions and posting sources to support them about people we do not love or respect. We have lost old friends and family members over the right to be right. You cannot take anything with you when you die. In the end, all we have to look upon in our lives is the people who mattered the most. What will they say about you when you are gone? That you spent 18 hours a day arguing on Facebook?

facebook-death-memorialized-accounts-digital-legacy

There is a source on the Internet to support any position you hold on any subject. Let. That. Sink. In.

We must learn to value the soul, not words, not feelings, but the human soul. The rest is commentary…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About jewess

I am a Judaic Studies academic who loves all facets of Jewry. I am at my core and artistic being, as I am a classically trained pianist and composer. I love aesthetics and my dog. I am a misanthrope, but try to be kind to everyone.
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3 Responses to Everyone is a Journalist Today

  1. So thoughtfully written. This stopped me in my tracks. A fellow misanthrope.

    Like

  2. Pingback: Everyone is a Journalist Today | Robbie's Blog

  3. sashajuno says:

    Thought I had written a reply but don’t see it. ;-(

    Like

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