Trolls, Hearsay and Chaos


How do you get the news?

I’ve always relied on newspapers. Why? Because facts are checked and verified. Print journalism – that is, established daily or weekly newspapers – filter the news.

Are you going to rely on television news? Sometimes the TV stations get it right. But many times you have to realize that TV broadcasts are cheap infotainment: a great way to entertain yourself for a couple of minutes, but I’m not going to hanging on to the set.

Many times, television news is merely brainless diversion rather than an intellectual, factual, well-documented resource that it could and should be.

So many of TV news reporting is based on hearsay, rumor, innuendo, gossip, speculation and endless editorializing. It’s just like the stuff that is in marijuana: THC. THC rules social media and other reporting platforms. Of course, THC stands for Trolls, Hearsay and Chaos.

On TV and social media, I am always amazed by how the major stories get short shrift, a few seconds, a couple of headlines and a quote, even the items that impact us at every level.

Yet the TV weather – yes, the weather report – gets gads of time, giving us so much technical jargon and mind-blowing detail (like does anyone really give a rip about the barometric pressure and can really figure out the jet stream?) and it goes on and on and on. Do I really care about wind speed if it’s going to be 5-10 mph? Who notices or cares?

I stopped watching news when regional and national TV anchor Jessica Savitch died in a freakish car accident in New Hope, Pa., decades ago. Even then I wasn’t listening very closely. But at least there was a TV journalist I could trust and, unfortunately, we sadly lost.