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Letters to the Editor

Letter: Journalism standards aren’t equal

  • Author: Jeff Silverman
    | Opinion
  • Updated: December 4, 2019
  • Published December 4, 2019

A big “quyana” to Frank Baker and Gary Fisk for their sage advice to everyone (at least those who read newspapers) to chill reflectively for a moment or two away from the media onslaught.

The problem I have is Mr. Baker’s call to ignore all press and news media, the entire Fourth Estate, as if all news sources were equal in untrustworthiness. This is false equivalency, the assertion that two things have equal validity solely because they are opposite of each other. As if climate change deniers are equal to scientists’ (and most sane persons’) knowledge of the facts of climate change.

Equating public radio to right-wing talk radio, and newspapers to cable opinion news, implies that there are no standards of journalism, expression of facts, anywhere. As if our local newspaper or public radio stations are no more trustworthy than Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh.

But there are standards; President Donald Trump would like us to believe there aren’t. There are trained, experienced journalists working for legitimate news organizations. Reporters are trained to recognize their own biases, to dig for the facts and find the truth. Public broadcasting has no other guiding agenda.

If we equate the journalism of the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, the Washington Post, the Anchorage Daily News and public radio and television (The PBS NewsHour and Frontline) to FOX (opinion) News, then we concede truth — the facts, those pesky voices calling to us out of the past and the present — to those who thrive in chaos, confusion and fear.

How about this: We all take a week off from cable opinion news, video website news, political social media and talk radio. Read a printed copy of your local newspaper every day for a week. Listen to public radio. In Anchorage, it’s KSKA 91.1 and KNBA 90.3 — yes, we have two public radio stations! Let’s call it “Perspective Week.” See how fact-based news treats you. Our democracy depends on you.

— Jeff Silverman


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