Cains: Opinion is not news

Published 3:01 pm Wednesday, May 1, 2024

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If there is one thing I have learned over the past two years in my role as publisher of Leader Publications, it is Southwest Michigan residents have no shortage of political opinion.  Between the emails, phone calls, “Frankly” and walk-ins to our new location at 25 N. Second Street in Niles, I am bombarded with political opinion through satire, sarcasm, and wit, that which is both absurd and of the common-sense variety, as well as serious provocations and heartfelt affirmations all rolled into one giant political multivitamin pill.  

My Spam folder is a petri dish of political pathogens, much like cable “news.” I need to use the word “news” loosely as opinionated content is subjective and not necessarily news and no, most cable news stations offer little more to the viewer than a therapy session for listening to the things they want to hear from like-minded people. I have no qualms with cable opinion stations, just label them as such.

News is not a falsification of events nor a distortion of fact through purposeful omission. If there is any doubt on this then spend 15 minutes watching Fox News or Newsmax and then jump to CNN or MSNBC and draw your own comparison. How reality is allowed to be twisted, stretched, and contorted into partisan fecal taffy is shameful and dangerous, especially for cable stations having “news” in their call letters. Make no mistake about it, through a clearly calculated and obviously tapered agenda by cable network stations, we are inhaling political pollution leaving many of us gasping for truth, not believability.

I think few of us would disagree that we are indeed a highly, politically divided nation.  We do not live in “Cableland,” we live in Niles, Dowagiac, Edwardsburg, Cassopolis, Buchanan or somewhere nearby. The harm in politically slanted media reporting is when it hits home with our local politicians, school boards, next door neighbors and the people sitting next to us in a restaurant.  We cannot continue to base our social and political decision making on deceitful reporting with untruths and half-truths. The decisions we make for our future should be moderately dependent on honest reporting and a sometimes-painful respect for the facts. 

I think we do a disservice to ourselves and our community when we limit where we get our current event news from.  Utilizing multiple news media sources, questioning the veracity of the content, and applying a reasonable amount of effort to seek the facts should be something every adult strives for.  

With our community newspapers being just that, “community” newspapers, we do not often dip into the national news spectrum with our content, but we do offer a platform through our multiple Facebook pages, Letters to the Editor and Frankly which is an opportunity for readers to share their thoughts and recognized opinions with others to inspire debate and understanding and give voice.  I would encourage our readers to share their thoughts through one of these platforms. Everyone is welcome to contribute.