Thank you for returning to Common Sense Civics and Citizenship! As we ring in a new year, we often look for things that we need to improve in our lives. I’m suggesting we look at our news consumption with a new angle- looking for the truth. After all, the most underreported story of 2021 is just that-underreporting. Read on..
Do you like to listen to year-end reviews of the news?
These recaps serve as a reminder to me that time is tick, tick, ticking away, things can change on a dime, and that the Creator mentioned in the Declaration of Independence still is in control of life, death, and infinity. But there’s another angle to these recaps. Usually, it’s “what is the biggest story of this year?” You get varying opinions, maybe even a panel of “experts” to discuss the most shocking, unpredictable event.
I noticed something different this year. We are being asked, “what is the most underreported story of the past year?” The answer, in my opinion, is the underreporting of stories. That is, not telling the whole story, or concealing part of the story, or not reporting the story at all. And if there is suppression of the facts, truth is lacking. Americans cannot make wise decisions as our Founders intended if facts are withheld.
How do you know if you are getting the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? Here at Common Sense Civics and Citizenship, we assess news with the 5 “W’s “and an “H.” That’s right. Old-school journalism. It used to be the first thing you learned in J class. You and I need to look for the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How before any reporter elaborates on the situation. If reporting is emotion-based, that’s an opinion story. If it’s a how-to story, that’s application. But, if it’s reporting on a news event, you should be able to tell right away whether the story is factual or is a guesstimate to get ratings or sell copy. The initial reports are rarely accurate because all of the facts aren’t known rapidly in a highly charged situation. Misplaced blame can occur. Emotions aren’t facts. They come and go like the weather. Americans tend to believe first reports. Those first reports tend to stick. That leaves less room for truth and more room for error, leading to bad influences, which leads to unwise decisions.
Sometimes we have to broaden our viewing and reading habits. Sometimes we have to “fire” those other sources we used to trust. I’ve “hired” a few new information sources in 2021. We have to work harder to get the facts because news is a business, and we are the consumer. How long they can keep our attention and potentially alter what we think is very important to the news business. They make money and gain power from our choices.
The above serves as a reminder to assess the world around us and seek the truth as we head into a new year. May we be wiser Americans for it.
Wishing you a happy, healthy, and wiser 2022🎉
This is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship.🇺🇸