How to read the News
By Nancy McGill
The public’s frustration with the American media and
beyond is building and what’s worse, are the Americans who
give credibility to media organizations because they are the
“big” names in media — The New York Times and Washington
Post are two examples.
That covers print, however,
this editorial addresses print, broadcast and online “news.”
The tabloid reporting coming from the “press” at the
top of the journalism spectrum is worrisome. It takes the
profession and twists it into something ugly and unethical.
Journalists are journalists because they have a penchant
for justice and truth, but as we are seeing today, those who
call themselves the “press” and report stories with information
from “anonymous sources” are not doing Americans a
service. And, that is what journalism is — a service. News
stories are history’s “first draft” and if the first draft rests on
air, we have a problem.
Most all of these “news” organizations have cried out,
“Freedom of the Press,” but they are leaving a crucial part
out — that freedom comes with a tremendous responsibility
and when a journalist meets this responsibility, it is a terrific
feeling of service.
On March 10, “LIBERTY The Press and the Presidency in
the Post-Truth Era” will be held at the University of Nebraska-
Lincoln. Concerning are the players who will present:
Human Rights Watch, the Washington Post and the Omaha
All three of these organizations have reported false
information regarding the “wars” in the middle east. The
Omaha World Herald often regurgitates information from
the Associated Press. Human Rights Watch calls for further
sanctions on Syria.
In the description of the seminar, the phrases, “Alternative
News” and “Fake News” are mentioned. Perhaps the most
Since 2002, the United States has been at “war” in the
middle east. You know the drill. It started with the weapons
of mass destruction in Iraq and Saddam Hussein’s cruelty
toward his people. Later, it was Gaddafi in Libya who was
the murdering tyrant, then, President Assad of Syria, who
was gassing the Syrian people.
At some point, it became clear the WMD story rang weak
and even the “big” media corporations reported the evidence
was falsified, however, they continued to relay the same
rhetoric coming from Washington on Afghanistan, Libya
Washington continued to speak for Americans, as
if we wanted “war,” as if we wanted our fellow Americans
fighting in a desert overseas, going days without sleep and
coming home suicidal, and as if the reports on these foreign
leaders were true.
The result is tens of thousands of innocent middle eastern
people and Americans died and not one word from the
media on the possibilities the “evidence” is thin. In fact, the
media began pushing more stories on how “bad” Assad is.
Independent journalists, the US Peace Council, Hands Off
Syria and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (who is now being demonized)
have spoken out on ending the “regime change,” which
is a nice word for genocide, in Syria, and to the perpetual
“war.” Gabbard also introduced a bill to stop American tax
dollars from funding terrorism. Remember, these “wars” are
costing the United States billions every day.
Reading the “news” today is a tricky task, but it can be
done. Here are a few tips on how to determine if a news
story is true:
1. A lot of sites and social media pages regurgitate news
from other sites, such as the New York Times. Some will
come right out and name the publication, others won’t. If the
source for the original story is named, go to that story.
2. Look for the quotes. Who said them? If they are unnamed
or anonymous, the story is questionable. For example,
a Washington Post story from last week, claimed the
GOP was in disarray, according to “an anonymous source
who wanted to remain anonymous for future information”
from the White House.
3. After the quotes are scanned, move on to reading the
story. Watch the language for dramatic words. Many reports
are sensationalized using language. Skip over these words to
get the story. You may have to scrap it all together.
4. Read the story from beginning to end and then read it
again. If some of the details seem questionable, such as 7-
year-old Bana tweeting full sentences in English from a war
zone and using government buzzwords, like “No-Fly Zone,”
the story is untrue.
5. Start picking the story apart. Verify against the original
sources, i.e., Olga Korbut was reported as selling her Olympic
medals. On her social media, however, she adamantly
denied it as hashtag fake news:
“OMG, Russian article said I sold medals because I’m
broke. Not true! Happy & Healthy in AZ. @nbc @tmz @abc
@cbs #fakenews. I have a gr8 life.”
She was the source for this particular story.
On executive orders from the White House: Go straight to
the White House website and read them. If you don’t have
the media filter, you will be more informed.
6. Notice how you keep seeing the same story over and
over, just on different sites or pages. After you’ve checked
the story out, realize this: You are meant to see it over and
over, i.e., the Clinton “nomination” and subsequent “win.”
7. Remember the underdog. We have independent journalists
in Syria and just because the Washington Post dismisses
their work, doesn’t mean they are not reporting the truth.
Many underdog journalists are credible. In fact, we are lucky
they don’t work for the Post or its counterparts.
8. Refrain from using “Snopes” as a tool to verify articles.
Snopes has attempted to discredit the independent journalists
in Syria, even though the evidence from them carries more
weight than the reports from the American media.