#fakenews makes sense if you understand that in today’s 24/7/365 “news” cycle, what we see every day is process and not output. It’s like watching a sporting event and cheering or condemning individual plays or calls by the officials that may or may not have anything to do with the final outcome.
News reporting today is like placing importance on who won an interim period – a particular inning, quarter or period – and ignoring the score at the end of the game, match or contest.
Saying the Citadel football squad beat the #1 Crimson Tide in the second quarter by the score of 10 to 3 is 100% true – but in the end, it was immaterial as the Tide won the other three quarters and the game by a score of 50 to 17.
News reporting is like football – you’ve got to play all 4 quarters to get the final result.
There is nothing really that unusual about the process today – in every investigation, there are nutty bits and pieces of information and false leads that take reporters down rabbit holes to dead ends and incorrect conclusions – the difference is that today, the lack of patience and the need for instant gratification causes this process to be made public before all the leads can be run to ground and arrival at a reasoned conclusion.
We are witnessing the process of reporting – the sausage being made, not the output of reporting. The problem is that every day, there are steps in the process that advantage one side or the other and that is what becomes “news”…and the cacophony surrounding those daily assumptions often both tires out the observer and obscures the actual conclusion of the investigative process. It even tires out the investigator and the process is never completed. When this happens and the interim information stands as the conclusion, there’s your #fakenews.
Selectively taking the juicy bits and pieces out of the daily tripe pile also creates opportunity for mischief and allows bias to be passed off as objectivity. It’s why everybody knows the salacious details of certain situations but very few can tell you the final outcome. If it bleeds, it leads.
The worst things that ever happened to the quality of news and the integrity of reporters are the 24/7 news channels. Instead of enjoying a breakfast of facts, we are seeing the sausage of news being made – live and while we are trying to eat. It’s enough to make you sick.