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What is News?

by Ron Holdraker
September 11, 2021

nd one of the central arguments is the  word ‘news’. Okay, let’s define the word ‘news’.

The dictionary defines ‘news’ as: a report of recent events; previously unknown information; something having a specified influence or effect; matter that is newsworthy.

The definition seems simple, but somehow different sides of an issue have different definitions. For example, if FOX News includes in a story that President Biden is responsible for a major gaffe, without actual facts, some define that as news.

If CNN includes a story stating that former President Trump is responsible for a major gaffe without actual facts, some define that as news.

Actually, both of these networks have crossed the line of news and opinions and both have muddled the line. It used to be that networks, without emotion and opinion, delivered facts and allowed the listeners/viewers to reach a possible conclusion. 

The muddy waters rose when shows, pretending to report news, especially those with panels and “guests”, began actually choosing particular sides in a presentation. Anti/pro Trump or Republican, anti/pro Biden or Democrat. 

Soon both CNN and FOX identified with their chosen party/leanings and the public was left with a confusing mess of quasi-news.

I recall a time that I became shocked when an old ABC newscaster showed emotion and let a word slip that showed his feelings concerning a story. A word, a swagger, smirk, all becomes defined as opinion injection.

The real victims of the sales approach (and trust me folks, it was swayed by money and ads) was the old time network news shows. ABC, NBC and CBS fell victim to “Opinion News”. Along with print, radio and even social media.

If somehow NBC presented a story that Republicans disliked, it became opinion and tainted. If Democrats didn’t like an ABC story about Biden, it was elevated to a hatchet job.

Unfortunately, many of the Trump era tweets, posts and slips were often vilified by the news networks, much to the disdain of many Republicans.

Networks were defined as either pro-, or anti-Trump and suddenly even actual news became opinion in viewer’s minds, even if it presented a fair and balanced presentation.

Editorials soon became defined as pro, or anti “news”, all but categorizing the author.

Simple solution: If a news piece becomes tainted with opinion, it should be labeled as such. The problem is that viewers deem a piece as opinion, even if it is balanced, depending on their point of view.

So, where does that leave us? I have been branded by many as an anti-Trump/Republican, even though I consider myself a Republican, only one who dislikes Trump’s methods and politics. I keep those ‘opinions’ here in this column and on my posts, but regardless, the Times itself is accused of being far left. I did agree with Trump’s stand on ending the war in Afghanistan and his initial approach to China relations. That is not enough for some, I must be 100% Trump, or labeled a traitor to the cause.

I believe Biden’s administration and especially his generals misunderstood the pull-out in that 20 year war, but somehow readers overlook that stance.

The bottom line is that too many Americans have been influenced by social media and believe that is where ‘real’ news develops. Trust me, it does not. Most networks do an admirable job  reporting news, some, knowingly or unknowingly cross the line. That is part of being human beings. Please get your news from multiple sources and remember your own built-in leanings before coming to a conclusion on the definition of ‘news’. 

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