Admittedly, this is the first year that I’ve ever followed a presidential election from beginning to end. (I know, I know.)
I have nothing to compare, but it seems to me one idea that was lost in this election is that the media are supposed to be here to inform, not influence.
From last year until last night, I personally haven’t seen a lot of election coverage that is truly objective and presents only the facts (All of them – withholding information is still a matter of opinion.) Maybe more of it exists that I’ve just been missing.
Walter Cronkite described a journalist’s job as holding up a mirror – journalism is simply there to reflect the truth and not distort it.
Captain obvious here: Not all, but some people don’t always tell the whole truth. (Again, withholding important information is as dishonest as lying.) So, the media are supposed to be here to check and balance.
Although news seems to have strayed far from its Cronkite days (and not just in the past year), there are still reputable organizations out there that do a good job of providing accurate and detailed insight into what’s going on.
So, what I began asking myself is: before you form an opinion, which you are perfectly entitled to, would you take time to question how that opinion has been formed?
I’ve spoken with too many people who have told me they don’t pay attention because it’s depressing and makes them angry, and they would rather not know what’s going on in the world.
I spoke with a lot of people right after this election didn’t go their way who said they used to pay attention, but now they’re checking out.
This doesn’t come from a place of judgement because I spent many years feeling the exact same way, but I believe this is the wrong approach.
I can’t get through a lot of news coverage with dry eyes. But the freedom to have access to that knowledge and information is something that too many people outside of the U.S. don’t have, and it’s something that I don’t ever want to take for granted. It’s worth a few tears to take advantage of a freedom that people have fought for and are still fighting hard to protect.
There is one truth that hasn’t been distorted – information is powerful.
No matter where you stand on any of the issues that face our world today, please consider staying informed.
Please don’t let anger, disappointment, fear or uncertainty compel you to push aside your right to know.
I never wanted anything to do with politics. As a journalist, I eventually became obsessed with the news, but it took me a long time to even go near politics. But this election in particular (and living in New York, I think) has taught me that it feels good to be a part of something.
It feels good to be informed.
It feels good to be involved.
It feels good to commit to finding and telling the truth.
An old but still great Relient K song sums it up pretty well: “Apathetic’s a pathetic way to be.”
Despite whatever you may feel that is telling you otherwise…will you possibly examine your apathy and consider getting rid of it? I want to work on doing the same.
Not just because of what happened last night and not just because of what will happen over the next four years.
Don’t let your pursuit of the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth become passive because you no longer believe it’s worth asking the tough questions.
Your involvement in important issues has always mattered.
Your commitment to staying informed has always mattered.
And regardless of the messages you’ve heard or how you felt when you woke up this morning…
you have always mattered too. 🙂