In the movie “My Cousin Vinny,” the prosecutor tells the jury what the two defendants did and that he will prove it.
The judge calls on Vinny Gambini, the attorney for the two defendants. It’s Vinny’s first court case and he has a lot to learn. He says to the jury, “Uh, everything that guy just said is bull—.” The judge sternly reprimands him. Vinny’s choice of words was inappropriate, but he eventually proves that everything the prosecutor told the jury was wrong.
That scene popped into my head after reading the column entitled “Media outcry is the real fake news” by J. Peder Zane. He claimed that HB2 has not had much of an effect on North Carolina’s image or economy. And he applies what seems to be a sweeping criticism of most news outlets — including this one —for faking news about HB2 to support the Democrats. Yet he says in the same column, “As someone who opposes this unwise and unnecessary measure, I support the push to repeal it.”
The Wilson Times has an opinion page in every issue. They publish opinions there. What they do in other parts of the paper is report news — supported by facts. I believe they clearly try to separate news from opinions.
CNN, Fox News and MSNBC claim to provide news. But anyone who watches these networks is mainly being exposed to opinions about the news. It is called infotainment. Do they spin and slant the news? I believe they all do at times. But I believe most reputable mainstream news outlets make a strong effort to be impartial in the news they report. Letting opinions cloud the news is bad journalism. And professional reputations are at stake for media outlets and their staffs.
Cults often tell new recruits, “We’re the only ones you can trust. Everybody else will lie to you.” Those who label all news outlets as purveyors of fake news may be trying to say the same thing to those they want to recruit or convince.