Reading the New York Times makes you smarter than reading Facebook

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 4:00 PM | comments: 0

Despite the Twitterer-in-Chief labeling everything he doesn't agree with as "fake news," news is still news, and facts are still facts. Journalism lives on, and I think it's being challenged in a very healthy way. Provided it figures out how to pay for itself without compromising traditionally held values in journalism, we could be on the verge of a new golden age for it.

I've been dissatisfied with the state of journalism for years. As much as the president bitches and moans about the press (mostly because it doesn't satisfy his vanity), he owes his election to the press for not asking any real hard questions or calling out his lies and gaslighting of reality. That doesn't mean that there was a total lack of journalism occurring. Even CNN got things right now and then, as did the other TV networks. The New York Times and Washington Post in particular did a solid job in reporting during the last year. In fact, I was particularly energized by the talk at SXSW from the NYT, enough that I subscribed at their 50% off rate. I've been reading it fairly regularly now for a month or so, to varying degrees.

What have I learned? More than anything, is that there are always deeper stories, way more nuance and complexity in the world than our culture seems willing to embrace. This isn't a discovery, per se, as much as it is a reminder. Americans have been very keyed into soundbites for all of my life, but they seem to be even worse in the era of "like and share." I think the press that goes deep is reasonably good at exposing all sides of politics, despite accusations of liberal bias. If you buy into that bias allegation, I would invite you to go back and look into their investigative pieces on Hillary Clinton's email nonsense, which was very thorough, even if it mostly exposed poor judgment. At the same time, the public doesn't understand the difference between "the media" and "the press."

The NYT is not infallible, but it is dedicated to truth. I think it deserves our respect as an institution. The American press is a vital part of our way of life, and so important that it is guaranteed by the First Amendment. The press does not, and should not, deliver only the things that you want to hear, and you should not have that expectation.

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