And “That’s The Way It Is”…or is it?

I am old enough to remember Walter Cronkite, once known as “the most trusted man in America” signing off his news reports by saying, “And that’s the way it is.” And I believed it was! I have gained an added respect of a man I already respected, another old-school reporter, Ted Koppel. In a Washington Post article from last Sunday , he brilliantly discusses the difference between opinion and facts, and “the transition of news from a public service to a profitable commodity.” This article is a must read for anyone who misses the days of responsible, unbiased news reporting. If I were to hear a modern-day reporter say, “And that’s the way it is”, I would have to ask, “Is it?”

I was recently asked if the stories I capture and preserve at LifeStories Alive are checked out as to being factual. The answer is, “No, the stories I gather for families are not checked out as to being factual.” They are not for public consumption with the intent of being interpreted as fact. They are captured and preserved with the intent of telling a story from the story teller’s point of view. In fact, I had a lady approach me insisting that I capture her father’s stories soon. When asked what the hurry was, she said that the family knows that 90% of her father’s stories are false, but he tells them so well (and funny) that they wanted to capture them before he forgot them!

So my advice is to listen to TV news with the reporter’s intent in mind…biased or unbiased, as a collection and dissemination of substantive and unbiased news (as) a public trust” or as a “profitable commodity”? The decision belongs to you. And that’s the way it is!


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