• John Brodey
In ? We Trust.
The real question is not about who we trust but rather about who we should trust. Trust has become a negotiable commodity. There was a time when the ‘most trusted man in America’ was Walter Cronkite, a newsman. Since then, the public has begun to conflate fact and opinion. As Daniel Moynihan said: we are entitled to our own opinions but not our own facts. There’s no such thing as ‘alternative facts’, just ask any juror hearing a murder trial.
This loss of faith in so many institutions e.g., government, politicians, media, medical science , etc., has been amplified by the growing power of digital media. A significant percentage of the population now relies on internet options for their news. Sadly, TV/radio and print media are increasingly marginalized with only 5% of the public citing the latter as their go-to information source.
Social media has developed an unlimited truth killing capability. We now have an unfiltered flood of misinformation and baseless theories. Fortunately, our guest at recent VOM Rotary breakfast meeting was Darren LaShelle who is the CEO of Northern California Public Media.
As part of the NBS network, NCPM, may not have the cache of a KQED but it adheres to the same journalistic ideals that are what credible reporting is all about. And they are right here in the north bay (and south bay). Many of you may not be familiar with KRCB TV (channel 22), KPJK TV (channel 60) or KCRB FM (104.9 & 91.1) right here in our midst. Darren’s agenda includes combating the most serious threat to responsible journalism: the degradation of media literacy.
Public Broadcasting and the Press Democrat are among the last bastions of the free press. They maintain an objective and balanced approach (Fox just traded their ‘Fair and Balanced’ tagline for ‘Most Trusted’). They are wedded to truth and fact. When it comes to the rumors and conspiracy theories that populate so many sites and podcasts, people are not inclined to question what they hear. Critical thinking is suspended. Darren led an energetic discussion about the key issues and what must be done if we are to preserve the integrity of news outlets. PBS has established its’ credibility over time and has the highest rating among all media organizations or government institutions (74%). Darren outlined their strategy for educational programs to reach the younger demos. Significantly, PBS content is now used in 90% of the school systems in California which then enables students to learn just how to evaluate what they hear. Many other trusted news outlets are locked behind a pay wall which limits their reach. PBS is alone, relying on membership donations to remain truly free. It’s time for concerned citizens to step up and support an endangered species we can’t afford to lose. Give it a try and see if the programming on Channels 22 and 60 don’t give you a lift. Just go to https://norcalpublicmedia.org/home
Guaranteed, you won’t feel like you need a shower afterwards. What a concept.
Free Test Kits On Tuesday, May 31, COVID-19 test kits will be distributed at the Berger Center from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Please register