Misrepresenting the News: Infer-mation Overload

In a previous post, I talked about how the . This post is about a blatant misrepresentation of fact.

In the first line of , the author writes:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday that Al Jazeera is gaining more prominence in the U.S. because it offers “real news” — something she said American media were falling far short of doing.

If you watch the video that accompanies said article, or read the article on the , you see that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is actually saying:

“In fact viewership of al Jazeera is going up in the United States because it’s real news. You may not agree with it, but you feel like you’re getting real news around the clock instead of a million commercials and, you know, arguments between talking heads and the kind of stuff that we do on our news which, you know, is not particularly informative to us, let alone foreigners.”

Clinton does not explicitly say that the U.S. media does not offer real news. Instead, she says that American news is not particularly informative. One can see how this can be inferred from what she said, but it is not what she said. This is something that irks me about news agencies in general, but I can understand how it is necessary in our entertainment-driven society.

Why can’t we just have news that reports on the facts rather than one that tries to ‘‘ the news in one direction. This has gone so far that after debates between political candidates, representatives from either side are meant to spin what their respective candidate said in what is called the “.” We actually call the place where this happens the spin room. Isn’t that a little far? Shouldn’t we just be talking about what the candidate said?

Maybe my line of thinking is too utopian. Maybe my ideals are a little lofty in that there needn’t be a place for — intentionally or unintentionally. I’d really just like to have someone tell me the facts of the day and what that could potentially mean, from a systematic point of view.

In today’s world where there are proponents from both side jockeying for mine (and your) attention at 6pm to get the daily dose of the facts, it almost seems safer to watch both of the news to get a more accurate perspective on what’s been happening. However, some sources like one, and one, explain that watching the news can actually make you less informed about what’s going on. With the advance of social networking, maybe it’s almost safer just to follow the to see what’s happening in the world.

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5 responses to “Misrepresenting the News: Infer-mation Overload

  1. excellent!

  2. Agree 100% – The lack of truth in media makes it virtually impossible to follow the news. A few years ago I stopped listening to the news radio, reading newspapers or watching TV and it had a huge positive effect on me. The news hardly ever provides useful information anyway and if you miss a year of news and then tune in, it is uncanny how it seems like you didn't miss anything.
    The same goes for Internet – try finding facts on anything from health to current events. You have to search multiple sources and make your own judgments on the truth in face of conflicting information.
    Great topic!
    Eliot.
    My recent post Prayer Beads

    • Yes, given the information overload, it does seem difficult to learn about what's going on in the world without being overwhelmed with an abundance of opinions. While maybe the majority of news leaves much to be desired, I still think there are some places people can go for information without being completely snowed into an opinion by the host (or site). In fact, I've recently learned (after having been away from the news for quite awhile) that there are sites that are dedicated to posting solely the news story that comes off of the AP wire.

      Meaning, an editor (or producer) hasn't vetted the story and carefully constructed an angle with which to have the story given from. Of course, there is going to be some opinion from the original author of the AP article, but there is far less mush to sift through.

      With Love and Gratitude,

      Jeremiah

  3. Pingback: Do You Know Where Your Filters Are? | Jeremiah Stanghini's Blog

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