Back in 1984, I was in journalism school. I remember each professor made it a point to remind us during every class, that you never print a story without multiple sources being fact checked and verified. It was the tenet of every good journalist and their editors to follow this principle. We were taught only editorials should be opinion and all news stories should be objective and factual.
Fast forward to today and those sacred journalism rules are out the window. News programming is anything but objective and more importantly it’s called programming for a reason. Pundits sit around a table and convince you their analysis is fact. Pick any news station and you will find all day programming, bias towards one side or the other. Public relations groups are in high gear to create popular news “personalities” with a cult like status. Many of these personalities don’t even have a journalism degree but have the look and the character to help manipulate the masses and fit the agenda of the day.
Fear is the big seller here and the scarier the better. Fear and violence keep TVs turned on and sponsors paying a large premium for ad space, knowing they have a captive audience. Is it an industry out of control? I would say yes. Just look around. Flip the channels, read the online papers and scroll social media sites. If you begin to look objectively, can you see how the same programming keeps running? The real tragedy is that most people have become so numbed to this form of journalism, they have very little expectations or desire to seek out the truth. They take it at face value, often assuming what they read, see or hear in the papers, television and social media is accurate.
Investigative journalism seems to have died years ago. Today, we have a bad reality TV show playing out all over the airwaves. And we just accept it, keeping the channel turned on. It’s addictive. It gets our adrenaline pumping and releases other chemicals that keep us addicted to watching more and more.
Imagine what would happen if people started exploring and researching alternative non-mainstream platforms with “boots on the ground” journalists offering objective, just-the-facts reporting? What if we became interested and educated in other viewpoints. What would happen if we all slowed down, practiced being more present in the moment, and asked ourselves; does something feel off? Am I being fed the same narrative over and over again? Am I being programmed to live in fear and despair? Have I lost my connection to myself and others, getting caught up in the anxiety, stress and frenetic energy swirling around me? Are stories that don’t fit the mainstream narrative being censored?
Maybe, just maybe, more people will begin to awaken, take a mindful pause and be open to the idea that maybe not everything is as it seems.