Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

So there was pretty much a formal, official “Coup Headquarters” in D.C. Yep. There was. You say that’s over the top? Then what would YOU call it?

I’m wondering. What business identifying and branding phrase did the receptionist use to answer the phone?

Whether Facebook continues to call itself Facebook or elects to change its name to, say, Nancy, it may be time to shut down that Kaffee Klatch. “Why do YOU care whether I’M vaccinated?” The Stupid. It hurts.

OK. Evidence to the contrary aside, I actually did pay attention during my now 47-year (and counting) career in American Media. Here’s another excerpt from the Journalism Handbook I used to distribute to my news staffs.

How hard is this, anyway?

Very. Extremely. And it’s only going to get harder. Let’s not kid ourselves. This is the most difficult period in American journalism history. No hyperbole. We can’t run from it. We have to understand it and embrace it. Truth has never been more important. We are currently operating in medical, social, political and economic chaos. That is not going to change anytime soon. Our society is fractured, polarized and tribalized as never before. Each “tribe” has invented its own Post-Fact World in which it has granted itself the license to reject any established fact it finds inconvenient, and embrace any proven falsehood that advances a “cause.”

In reporting objectively verified truths, we will be criticized and attacked from every point on the compass. Biased audience members will accuse US of being biased. It will be frustrating. It will be fatiguing. We will press on, cheerfully. To cite the basic tenet of media law, “Truth is the ultimate defense.”

Facts

Require no “balance.” Facts ARE balance. If, for example, we interview an eminent astrophysicist, we are under no obligation to also put a Flat Earther on the air in the name of “balance.” All opinions are NOT equal, or equally supported. And “opinions” never counter, rebut, refute or negate established facts.

“BOTH SIDES OF THE STORY”

Is a misnomer and a flawed concept. There are rarely if ever two and only two sides of a given story. Our job is to report all legitimate sides of a story. That’s not easy. But, that’s OK. We don’t do “easy.”

Tomorrow

 How the media landscape and business model has changed. That’s not all bad. But it’s not all good, either.

2 Responses

  1. “Truth has never been more important.” Oh really? Says who? The fact is we have so many people defining “truth” that it is very hard to convince our audience that we dwell in FACTS and not opinion. How many times have I heard, “I have an alternate source of information” when reporting on vaccines? You do NOT believe Dr. Fauci? Dr. Wallensky? WHY?? The answer is often, “They have an agenda.” Says WHO? The FACT is it is hard to convince anyone these days of the FACTS or the TRUTH of a story. People believe what they want to believe. Convincing people to recognize truth (I want to hear the other side of the “Rain is Wet” story) is the biggest challenge facing those of us in the media world today.

    1. Concur. All journalists of integrity can do is to keep “pounding the rock” of facts. It can be exhausting, and disheartening. But we must persevere. “What else you gon’ do?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Paul's Bio

I clearly have the attention span of your median fruit fly.Look! Airplane!

Sorry. I’m back.

It’s both a curse and a blessing. I’ve never bought this stuff about, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” But I do think that a wide range of life experiences helps us grow as people, and helps us better relate to other people. I’ve been fortunate. And I am beyond grateful.

I show up on time. I go like hell. I’m a good listener. I hold myself accountable. I own my mistakes. And I have a natural and an insatiable curiosity. I’m never afraid to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t. But then I try to find out.

The flip side is I’m a lousy ballroom dancer and my clothes sometimes fit me funny.

Stuff matters to me. I care. But while I take that stuff seriously, I try hard to never take myself seriously. As a result, I have sometimes been told, “Paul, it’s hard to tell when you’re serious and when you’re just having some fun. Which is it? Serious or fun?”

My answer is “yes.” But I think that is a legitimate criticism. I promise I’m going to work on that.

This has been the quickest and strangest half-century I’ve ever experienced. During that period, I’ve been afforded amazing opportunities in news and sports journalism across all platforms. I have taught wonderful students at the high school and collegiate level. Always, I learned more from them than they did from me. I’ve been a high school administrator. I spent ten seasons as a high school varsity football coach. I’ve been an advertising executive. I’ve hosted nationally syndicated television entertainment shows. In maybe the biggest honor I ever received, I was selected by NASA to be “Chet The Astronaut” for the “Land The Shuttle” simulator at Space Center Houston. (All I can say there, is “Do as I say, not as I do.” I put that thing in the Everglades more often than not.) Most recently, I just wrapped up a decade as a television news director, during which time our teams distinguished themselves in holding the powerful accountable, achieving both critical and ratings success.

What does all that mean? It means I am profoundly grateful. It also means I’m ready for “next.” So here we are. Radically Rational. It’s an idea I woke up with in 2017. I scribbled “Radically Rational” on a piece of notebook paper and used a magnet to stick it on our refrigerator. I saw it every day, and it just would not leave me alone.

I am second in charge at Radically Rational, LLC. My wife, Jo (also known as BB), is the president. Clearly, I have failed in my attempt to sleep my way to the top of this organization.

I hope you will learn that I’m loyal as a Labrador. But I will admit that this doggie can bite every now and then. My promise to you? I will show up on time. I will go like hell. I will listen to you earnestly and attentively. I will hold myself accountable. I will never be the least bit hesitant to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t.

But then I’ll try to find out. Let’s do it.