I Say: Social media not place for news

X Scalper

The silly season — as in political — is well underway and it is already proving to be ugly.

I am not talking so much about this year’s elections. Being an odd year, our ballots will cover local officials and proposals. Pretty tame stuff — most of the time.

Probably most important is Grosse Pointe Public School System ballot requests seeking renewal of the sinking fund and hold harmless millages.

It is difficult to gauge the mood of the electorate. Will voters easily approve the millage requests as they have in the past, or will there be lingering resentment over the post-bond enrollment numbers and school closings?

I certainly hope not. Loss of these millages would be devastating to the school system. I will certainly be voting in favor of the school millages. We don’t have children in the schools, but we consider supporting the schools an investment in the children and our community.

The ugly political season I have in mind is the 2020 federal, state and county elections. The farther the elective office gets from home, the nastier it gets. Make no mistake, it has already begun.

My wife, Terry, and other family members are already complaining about the “political stuff” that’s bombarding them on Facebook. I, however, don’t see anything political on my FB feed.

That is because years ago I began opting to hide anything political on Facebook, no matter if I agreed with it or not. Over time I seem to have inoculated myself from politics on Facebook.

Avoiding political ads on television is more difficult, but not impossible.

We are in the habit of recording the programs we usually watch. That way we can zip through the commercials. The drug and personal hygiene commercials are reason enough to encourage this practice. Politics make it mandatory.

For political news, I rely on “mainstream” newspapers and TV networks. They do a good job of covering the news fairly and accurately.

Don’t be fooled by “alt-news” sites that are purportedly telling people things that the mainstream media are “afraid of” or trying to “cover up.”

Having worked in newsrooms most of my adult career, I have to say we have never conspired to hide the truth or, for that matter, peddle an untruth.

And don’t confuse the opinion pieces with news stories. Editorials and opinions should be clearly identified. Even “analysis” pieces are a step beyond straight news, so keep that in mind when reading them.

Getting at the truth is hard enough without playing fast and loose with the facts.

Mainstream newspapers and broadcast media strive to adhere to standards. Sure, we err, but we do acknowledge when we made a mistake. That is what sets us apart.

That said, happy political season to you and yours!

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