ROTHENBURGER – Here’s to journalists who bravely bear witness to mayhem
THERE WAS A CERTAIN IRONY in finding a copy of The Epoch Times in my mailbox this week on the anniversary of the closing of The Kamloops Daily News.
The Epoch Times is a reminder that things aren’t like they used to be in the media world. This publication calls itself “objective and unbiased” but that’s like Fox News insisting it’s “Fair and Balanced.” (Fox quietly dropped that slogan a few years ago in favour of “Most Watched, Most Trusted.”)
“We provide honest, fact-based journalism and insightful news analysis,” The Epoch Times boasts. But it focuses heavily on stories with an anti-China bent, not surprising since it’s associated with the anti-Communist Falun Gong (a spiritual group banned in China), though its exact ownership is fuzzy.
It has, apparently, become highly successful, sending out free copies to targeted neighbourhoods across the continent soliciting subscriptions. It reflects the current state of journalism in which opinion and bias prevail over objectivity.
While traditional media — in which opinion is clearly labeled to distinguish it from news reporting — teeter on extinction, heavily slanted talking-heads journalism thrives.
Consumers want “news” that conforms to their own biases, not that covers the spectrum. As it happens, The Epoch Times has been a major supporter of Donald Trump, which brings me to my next point.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Everything here is so sad and so true. The question is, how did it get this way? The demise of journalism is just part of a larger rot. Recent events have shown us that public that will believe anything if they hear it often enough. The truth has become too inconvenient and politically untenable. As depressing as it is, there are probably more people who watch Sean Hannity on Fox-news than read the NYT or WP (or any other reliable news source). The ease with which social media can spread a lie is scary. Apparently, lots of people are willing to believe that cabals of satan-worshipping pedophiles are out to topple Trump. Then it took 50,000 messages and a riot to convince Twitter that Trump that was a threat.
Americans need to look away from the beautiful house, the beautiful wife, and the large automobile and ask themselves, ‘how did we get here?’