Staying in news ‘silo’ leaves us uninformed

After Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis last week signed a bill into law blocking public colleges from using federal or state funding on programs or campus activities that advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion or that promote political or social activism, liberals lashed out against the action.

Many argued the bill would limit free thinking and a full breadth of information being offered in college classrooms. One Democratic opponent, Florida Sen. Shevrin Jones, said: “Education ought to be about teaching kids how to think through issues, not what to think about issues. … The exposure to wide-ranging experiences and fresh perspectives encourages understanding and creativity.”

I saw the irony in Jones’s statement just days later when liberals and progressives began lashing out with outrage at news network CNN, saying commentary the network aired from the Republican presidential frontrunner should have been silenced.

CNN faced the harsh criticism for its decision last week to allow Donald Trump to participate in a 70-minute live town hall, giving him ample opportunity to share his thoughts and opinions on issues surrounding things like the 2020 election, the war in Ukraine, the southern U.S. border, federal spending, the civil sex abuse and defamation trial he just faced and other important issues of the day.

No doubt CNN is feeling the heat. Backlash from its liberal-leaning viewers probably will linger for quite some time.

But from my vantage point, I suspect CNN might have been attempting to avoid a trap that its competitor Fox News fell into stemming from coverage of the last presidential election — that is, feeding viewers only what they wanted to see and hear.

That’s not uncommon among national cable news networks.

For instance, Fox News faced backlash from its generally conservative viewership after it called Arizona in favor of Joe Biden on election night. The call was correct, but viewers were mad.

The network’s anchors and pundits also later promoted Trump’s line of a rigged election. The network was sued by Dominion Voting Systems for defamation, and an out-of-court settlement cost Fox News $787,500,000.

Like it or not, there always are two sides to every story, and if the media does its job correctly, viewers and readers should be well informed on both sides.

Sometimes, readers and viewers simply don’t want to hear it. But that doesn’t mean we should stop doing it.

Even on the local level, we often hear criticisms from readers — both liberal and conservative — when we publish stories, particularly on the front page, about either President Joe Biden or former President Donald Trump.

I received angry calls and emails when we published a story on Trump’s visit to the East Palestine train derailment site recently. Some readers told me they thought we should not have covered the event.

Likewise, when we publish front page wire stories about Biden, I often hear from readers accusing us of being way too liberal in our coverage.

The fact is, it’s our duty to inform readers of both sides of every issue.

That’s exactly why we sometimes publish “point-counterpoint” opinion pieces offering opposing viewpoints on our Sunday op-ed page, like the ones today about our southern border.

It’s important to know what’s happening in America. And whether you generally watch CNN, Fox News or any other national news network, or if you read only this newspaper for all your news, it’s important that you know about all the presidential candidates.

Trump is the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, and it’s likely that about half of America supports him. Unequivocally, that includes some of your friends, neighbors and your relatives.

Instead of protecting the American public — both young and old — by spoon feeding them only what they want to hear or the propaganda that some pundits or others in the media think they should hear, shouldn’t we be teaching people to think?

And, as a consumer of news, the next time you have an opportunity to hear both sides of a story, please don’t stop reading or switch the channel. Pay attention and be an informed American.

Staying in your silo and listening only to people with whom you agree is not the answer.


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