Monday was national taco day. Hey, whatever happened to taco Tuesday? Seems like there is a day or week for every cause.
This week is the 81st annual National Newspaper week! It is my opinion that National Newspaper Week is more important than taco Monday. Or as the kid said while sitting in his dad’s lap, “Why is Freedom of the Press under the First Amendment? The dad’s answer was the correct one, “Because it is the most important one.”
One of the most important roles that freedom of the press offers is being a “watchdog” for you as a taxpayer. While some legislators try to shut the door on open meetings, the press fights back so you will know what is happening.
We live in a time of misinformation, primarily because of social media. Far too many people rely on social media for their information. As one person said, “There are 27 versions of what happened online. Does anyone know the whole story?” The answer is get a newspaper and get the story straight.
We got a great insight to as to how misinformation is driven when Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee appeared on “60 Minutes” in an interview Sunday as the woman who anonymously filed complaints with federal law enforcement that the company’s own research shows how it magnifies hate and misinformation.
She said that “Facebook, over and over again, has shown it chooses profit over safety and they send you information on your news feed that will make you want to consult it more and more.
For instance, if you strongly refer to articles by one political party, then you will be bombarded by news from that party that will keep your interest at a peak level. At issue are algorithms that govern what shows up on users’ news feeds.
This has contributed to more divisiveness and ill will that has driven people further apart. The more they feed the people the more they consult Facebook and Facebook’s revenue climbs.
It is my opinion that the world would be a much better place if all social platforms were eliminated. Social Media has moved beyond connecting people to the single most polarizing platform in this country. Think about the negativity, hate, fear and bullying in your feed. No matter the subject, people are attacking each other in the most vile, evil ways.
Part of Facebook’s company, Instagram, recommended false claims about COVID-19, vaccines and the 2020 U.S. election to people who appeared interested in related topics, according to a new report from a group that tracks online misinformation.
This Monday, probably for the first time in a while, husbands and wives and others talked to each other because Facebook and its family of apps, including Instagram and WhatsApp, were inaccessible for hours, taking out a vital communications platform used by billions.
I mention these sources to emphasize how important it is to have trusted newspapers and television reporters that report the truth. Remember when you knew it was the truth if Walter Cronkite said it?
You don’t have to be worried about your local TV or newspaper reporter. It is some of the national media and social media that has our country so polarized on every issue. We have technology and media platforms that not only created this divide but continue to drive a wedge between us. This is what we can take away from National Newspaper Week.
During this week that we have devised to bring attention to what we do, here at the News Journal we value your trust that we can keep you informed about items that affect you.
We need facts about what is going on in our community. We want to keep you informed about what is going on at City Hall, the School board, local elections, and the many other things that affect your life. Rather than having to rely on misinformation on social media, we have trained professional reporters that are here to serve you. Thank you for being a part of our audience.