Editorial – The whole truth

Jeff Burgar

After a few months working at the old High Prairie Regional Health Complex, a former South Peace News staffer once again visited the News office. He was full of admiration for the wonderful folks at the hospital. Along with much less admiration for the hard-working folks at our local radio station and this newspaper!

“My gosh,” he would often exclaim breathlessly. “You guys are sure missing out on all kinds of news happening around here.”

This always irritated the editorial and production staff. These are the people who go to meetings, do the interviews, hash over news releases, hang out in court, take photos, listen to the pros and cons of different arguments from politicians and coffee shop quarterbacks, pour over news tips and in general, do their best to bring you, the reader, honest news.

It has to be said, if even a tenth of the “news” this staffer told us was actually happening at our local hospital, there are a whole bunch of people who deserved jail. Not for doing bad things either. How about for just being completely derelict in their duties by not reporting bad behaviour to proper authorities?

At the time, if memory is correct, we did run several notices asking people to come forward from the hospital if they knew of bad things. We received nothing. The offer still stands. Media want to chase down stories!

It has been said many times in many, many publications, hospitals just about anywhere are hotbeds of gossip and rumours. In fact, most days, stories in the coffee shop have far more truth to them than what comes out of a hospital in Grande Prairie, Edmonton or anywhere else.

This, in itself, should be shameful.

But these days, there are so many places the unhinged, jokesters, political manipulators and outright liars spread their stories. There was a time when bias in media was subtle. It was carefully hidden. In fact, despite the always left-leaning tendencies of media, journalism as a whole worked hard to be fair and honest.

Not any more!

The days of honest journalism are long past. News is no longer “just the facts.” Media outlets everywhere seem to be all day-long opinion pieces. Professional, well-paid talking heads on TV and columnists in national newspapers, magazines and websites peddle outrageous garbage every day.

Don’t like it? Change the dial!

Now, we have self-proclaimed “unbiased” and “fair” news reports everywhere twisting what happens to suit their own narrative of right and wrong.

News outlets can always be faulted for deciding which story and which quote and which picture they should use. These days, for many outlets, that isn’t enough. The elite journalists of our civilization now think readers and listeners are so stupid, we need the “proper story” pounded into our feeble and mushy brains.

Truth may not be as fun as hospital or made-up Trump or Notley stories. We should still use our heads to figure out what is and what isn’t true.

 

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