For Gwen Ifill


cjones11152016

Everyone who uses social media is in a bubble. You’re in a bubble, I’m in a bubble, your mom is in a bubble, and we all know your crazy uncle is in a bubble. The thing about bubbles is that your news feed gives you information that you want to read, whether you are a conservative or a liberal.

Personally I like to stick my head out of my bubble which is why I’m friends with very conservative people on Facebook (and quite a few in the real physical world). I get to read the information they’re sharing….or is often the case, misinformation.

A lot of people, myself included, get their news from social media. I do too while my TV is also on CNN all day and I personally subscribe to The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Seattle Times. Getting your news from social media could have been a good thing but it’s turning into a wasteland of fake news, or what I like to refer as “bullshit news.”

The headlines in my cartoon are examples of actual bullshit news. Conservatives reading this may still believe these headlines. They love the crap news and it’s really hard to shake them when they believe it. If you thought memes with fake quotes and news was bad, it gets even worse with actual fake news sites, and I’m not talking about the satire sites like The Onion. There are sites that pose as ABC, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, and such. It’s not always Breitbart, Infowars, and The Daily Caller. It’s very irresponsible. What really gets under my skin are the people who don’t trust the “mainstream” media yet they rely on the bullshit news. Nobody vets on Facebook.

It’s not just conservatives either. If you’re a liberal you probably saw several memes about how Donald Trump once said if he ever ran for president that he would do it as a Republican because their voters are stupid. Guess what. That’s fake. If you’re a leftie reading this you might be saying to your computer screen “Nuh uh!” but I’m telling you, “uh huh.” Another popular example is one I’ve seen shared by both sides about Obama banning the pledge of allegiance. Someone actually blocked me after I pointed out that story wasn’t true. That person was a liberal. Go figure. Don’t get me started on the stories about all the people Hillary Clinton supposedly killed.

We are in an age where many believe they’re not just entitled to their own opinion, but to their own facts. This is where I call bullshit. Journalism is very important to me. It’s important to democracy. While the media is hated more than Congress, Nickelback, grown men who say “anyhoo,” and people who walk too slowly in front of you at the grocery store, I have a high regard for it. Conservatives roll their eyes at me when I express my belief that The Washington Post and CNN are doing a good job. OK, CNN does play the ratings game a bit too much but I don’t buy the liberal-bias argument.

If you’re a purveyor of the bullshit news then you probably didn’t know who Gwen Ifill was if the news of her death from cancer on Monday fell into your news feed. She never reported that the Obama spent trillions of dollars of taxpayer money on a private vacation. Ifill reported real news. Information that was actually true. I’m saddened by her passing for the same reasons I was sad when Tim Russert died. We’re losing very ethical and principled people in our industry and for many people they’re being replaced by the Steve Bannons of the world. That does more than make me sad. It makes me sick.

Ifill was a highly respected journalist for PBS. She got her start working for newspapers in Boston, Baltimore, and Washington. She moderated the 2004 and 2008 vice-presidential debates. You may remember her being parodied by Queen Latifah on Saturday Night Live when they spoofed the Biden/Palin debate.

Gwen Ifill was only 61, two years older than my mother when she died. That is way too young.

I think it would be great if future journalists would aspire to be more like Ifill than the Steve Bannons or Sean Hannitys of the industry. It’d be really awesome if all those fake newsers on social media would attempt to be more like her, though they probably wouldn’t know where to start.

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8 comments

  1. I’ve been pondering the whole Facebook thing. I have dipped my toes in enough to know that I’m not interested in that kind of engagement. Between the Dunning-Kruger effect and the unmitigated stream of hyperbole and unfunny memes, there aren’t enough hours in the day to curate that mess.

    You’re probably right in paying attention to fake news in order to debunk it. My high horse is a solitary place and I’m not sure I should be on it, if I’m not willing to wander into the fray and do battle with the misinformed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have great respect for Gwen. I always will. We need more people like her, especially in today’s mosh pit of misinformation.

    Also, I like how you expressed support for legitimate media here: “While the media is hated more than Congress, Nickelback, grown men who say “anyhoo,” and people who walk too [slowly] in front of you at the grocery store, I have a high regard for it. Conservatives roll their eyes at me when I express my belief that The Washington Post and CNN are doing a good job. OK, CNN does play the ratings game a bit too much but I don’t buy the liberal-bias argument.”

    I feel the same way, except I actually like the band Nickelback. No, really.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Misinformation is one thing. In the words of Will Rogers, “It’s not what he doesn’t know that scares me. It’s what he’s dead certain of that’s just flat out wrong!”

    Disinformation is worse than misinformation or even “Half truths”. It’s the difference between omission and commission. If someone tells me something that is wrong because there are factors he hasn’t considered, that ought to be expected.

    But If I’m being told something that is a flat out lie. That’s a sin for a reason.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Also, I had a joke all set for Hillary having won. (mostly all set, I just had to put some funny into it somewhere)

    “Hillary’s coming after your guns?” Don’t worry, she’s not coming after your guns. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Hillary’s coming after YOU!

    Like

  5. I read & shared the report many people are now talking about (misinformation being spread by the far-right & far-right respectively). It was disappointing. It would be nice to think that, now that we know, people might be more careful… but I doubt it.

    RIP Gwen Ifill. You will be missed. 😥

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Gwen Ifill was intelligent, principled, and a fine journalist. She will certainly be missed.

    Saw a photo of a guy at a Trump rally wearing a shirt that said “Tree. Rope. Journalist. Some assembly required.” Seriously. And it was a commercial shirt, so someone is selling them and other people are buying them. I presume none of them have any idea what it’s like to live in a country without a free press. The shirts should come with “I’m ignorant and proud of it” buttons.

    Liked by 1 person

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