Stay Informed But Be Careful When You Pick And Choose Your News Sources

Written by Michael Cummings on July 7, 2017

Fake news.

Like MAGA (Make America Great Again), Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, the term “fake news” has become a default rallying cry for many on the right – often as the sole response to anything they hear that doesn’t agree with them.

“You think nationalized health care is a good thing? Well, MAGA to you and the horse you rode in on. MAGA MAGA MAGA MAGA MAGA.”

“CNN is the source? HA! Fake news. Don’t believe a word they say.”

Each of these phrases didn’t arrive without justification. As an executive, Donald Trump has done good things, so we truly are improving America domestically and internationally (Side note: I never believed American wasn’t great, even under the Obama administration. The office of the president is important, but the person behind the Resolute desk doesn’t define us.). And the mountain of evidence supporting
the nation’s distrust in major media outlets makes their abysmal approval ratings wholly understandable.

On Ben Shapiro’s June 27 podcast, Shapiro said the following regarding fake news:

It is your job as a news consumer to try and distinguish the fact from the opinion in any given story without just doing this routine where you say “Okay, CNN is all fake news or Fox News is all fake news, and everybody should be fired because I disagree with them.”

There’s a problem with that. Most of us aren’t media figures who must rely on multiple news sources to do our jobs. The average consumer gets most of his/her news from social media, and more people are quitting or severely reducing their social media habits. Since most conservatives have increasingly less time for news consumption (we’re actually working at our jobs, not protesting), if a source I rely on continues to lie to me — and I can check this by scanning a few other, trusted sites or networks — that person or organization will not be hearing from me. I don’t care if it’s right sometimes. Most of us don’t have time to applaud the broken watch on its twice-daily truth.

Shapiro also suggested that if we place our sole trust in a single news source, we’re going to be blindsided. By what? I don’t know what that means, but I have the flexibility of my mouse to go elsewhere anytime I wish. For instance, I used to be locked into Fox News, Hugh Hewitt, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Dennis Prager, and a host of other sites. Now my sources are generally Twitter, CNS News, Ben Shapiro, Mark Levin, and Dennis Prager. Trust me, this reduction has made my life better – not because I don’t necessarily trust the others (although, Fox News, hiring Obamacare architect Ezekiel Emanuel as a contributor puts you in my “no” column), but I have to prioritize according to my schedule and conservative point of view.

If something big happens like a terrorist attack or natural disaster, will I jump on a major site to get the latest? Of course. But if a news story over a policy fight like healthcare, a secure border, or taxes surfaces, I have no interest in going to places like CNN to separate the wheat from the chaff.

The comedian Chris Rock once said of men who cheat, “Men are only as faithful as their next option.” I don’t agree with the fidelity part, but this holds true with the free exchange of goods and services. Since the Internet has delivered choice on a level no one predicted, consumers hold the key to anyone’s success as an information source. I think I speak for non-media figures: We only have time for so much news consumption. We’ll stick with those we trust while they remain trustworthy, and forget the rest.

photo credit: Anders V “Read All About It” via photopin (license)

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Michael Cummings
Michael A. Cummings has a Bachelors in Business Management from St. John's University in Collegeville, MN, and a Masters in Rhetoric & Composition from Northern Arizona University. He has worked as a department store Loss Prevention Officer, bank auditor, textbook store manager, Chinese food delivery man, and technology salesman. Cummings wrote position pieces for the 2010 Trevor Drown for US Senate (AR) and 2012 Joe Coors for Congress (CO) campaigns.