We get real news from both liberal and conservative news media. I personally favor the liberal media, the NYTimes, the Washington Post, Slate, the Atlantic, the Guardian, the Huffington Post, Politico and many others. I respect but most often don’t read, lack of time, their conservative opposition, –the National Review, the Weekly Standard, the American Spectator, the American Conservative, the Washington Times et al.
Why do I so much respect the Times and the Post? Why do I go to them on Web the first thing every morning for the news? It’s not primarily because of their liberal outlook, also not necessarily because of the values we share, the values of freedom and openness, democratic governance, the rule of law, free trade, and of course that threesome coming to us from the French Revolution and the European Enlightenment, — liberté, égalité, fraternité. For there are any number of Western publications that I’m sure hold as we do these same values. And in fact in regard to the Times and the Post I don’t regularly even read the editorials that reflect most directly these liberal values. Why? Because I always know what they’re going to say before they say it. Liberal, yes these publications, but still a bit too proper.
If I read the Times and the Post before anything else it’s most certainly because of the great number of Times and Post reporters who are stationed somewhere, in the Times case probably anywhere, out there in the world. And because from out they’re sending their reports, their observations of what’s happening, what they hear and see going on, back to their editors in the home office, thereby giving us, the paper’s readers, some sense of the great number and diversity of lives and happenings, most of all often telling good, often great stories, that otherwise we would never have known, of the little things trying to get a start, of the big things that are happening, of the people, all kinds of them, struggling to live like us although with all the obvious differences between us. Their stories help us to understand that we are all one people, and that we’re living in spite of appearances to the contrary in just one world.
And as we become a bit acquainted with the world out there from the reporter’s reports, from the stories they tell, our own lives as a result become that much richer. We build onto the reporter’s words structures for ourselves, structures of our own, structures that make us stronger. Or something like that. I realize I’m trying with these words, and probably not too successfully, to describe what really happens every day as I read these two but also other legitimate, real news publications.
I’m talking now about real news of which, thanks to the thousands of reporters out there reporting there’s no lack. I know I can’t keep up, that everyday I miss good stories. How could it be otherwise given all that’s going on in the world everyday? Real news is different from fake news because it’s most often truthful, or a least the reporter is reporting what he sees as the truth. And he’s trying to bring things out in the open, not trying to falsify or hide them as in fake news. In this respect he’s like the scientist. But he’s also different from the scientist in that the people and the events he is reporting on are as it were on the surface of life and therefore with just the help of his reporting we can all see what’s happening. The scientist, however, is always looking under and behind the surface of things, at things most of us can’t even see without a lot of help, perhaps even having to go back to school to better grasp what is being told. This is probably why so many people including our president reject the discoveries of scientists because most of these discoveries can’t even be seen, let alone understood, without a lot of help, without microscopes and telescopes, without mathematics, without an elementary knowledge of biology, physics and chemistry. Our president doesn’t even read.
Once again it is the journalists, not the publications, that are the main source of real news. And that accounts for journalists being banished from White House press briefings. Trump and his flunkies, living as they do mostly in the untruth world of lies, must for their very survival banish truth from that world. Meaning by that of course that the journalists, who are directly and truthfully reporting what they have seen and heard, say, for example that they have never seen a Mexican rapist crossing our Southern border, will have to be excluded from the briefing because the president has said (is saying) that Mexican rapists are crossing our border.
And how do they do it, the Times and the Post journalists? How do they give us every day so much “real news?” It has to be because on their staffs of these two publications there are more working journalists than at any other two publications. While I don’t know if that’s true as I don’t have the numbers, and haven’t been able to get them. But it seems to be true just from the hundreds of articles and videos you can access daily on their internet front pages. I’ve done Google searches but have never found answers to that, have never found a Wikipedia article comparing the staffing budgets of our major news publications. I’m assuming it’s true because otherwise how else could they be able to access so much real news without paying for it regard to numbers of real paid reporters?
Maybe in a later blog I’ll take up the internet front pages of these publications but for now I want to end this blog by saying a bit about Fake News, and then even less about No News.
So Fake News. Who is turning this out?
The source is not as Trump would have it the liberal publications (which I’ve just presented as the greatest source of Real News). We get fake news from the very publications that Trump, well, doesn’t read, but watches, or is told about, from publications such as David Pecker’s National Enquirer (Pecker is a great friend of Trump’s), from the Drudge Report (which began as a gossip column and is still probably more that than anything else), and from Fox and Friends television, Trump himself being probably their very best friend. But perhaps most of all we get our fake news from the conspiracy theorists on talk radio, from the Sean Hannitys, Alex Jones, Rush Limbaughs, Ann Coulters and the myriad others who are out there and are hell bent on keeping real news and accompanying critical thinking away from the hundreds of thousands who listen to them for their “real” not news but entertainment. Will they, and Trump himself, keep their followers support? If they ever began to think for themselves their followers and listeners will probably simply disappear (perhaps begin to read the Times and the Post).
The conspiracy theorists, of course, are entertainers. That’s really the secret of their success. When I used to do a lot of driving I would listen to one them, Jay Severin, in the Boston area, on my car radio and invariably be amused by what he would say. Not interested, but amused. They entertain while making few if any demands on our critical intelligence. Jay Severin was eventually fired because he had proudly announced on talk radio that he had slept with his female interns.
In addition to the real news and fake news, there’s No News at all. And who provides us with the no news that we get? Well one big provider is Donald Trump himself. For have you ever learned anything, heard anything substantial in regard to news from his talk, from his tweets @realDonaldTrump? Have you ever learned anything other than who his enemies are, who his friends are, what he’s angry about, and what he says he’s doing, and of course doing it better than anyone else, doing to save us all, to save the country, because Trump sees himself in the long line of those who have always believed they could save us from something or other, from in Trump’s case the scourges of illegal immigration, Islamic terrorism, from the excesses of excessive government regulation.
Finally, one of the best examples of No News is to be found at @realDonaldTrump. What follows are Trump’s tweets on the two days following his visit to Paris. Any news there? That is, real news? No, and probably no fake news either. Just a lot of no news, nothing. Trump is a champion of that. That comes perhaps from his life on his golf courses where no news is probably the language of the Club.
Wouldn’t you think after spending a few hours with the President of France in Paris that President Trump would have some Real News to share with us??? Other than this kind of thing: “my son Don is being scorned by the Fake News Media,” and “I will be attending the Women’s US Open,” there’s nothing, that is, No News.