Who do you trust?

Published 2:55 pm Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Most of my generation claim the late, great Johnny Carson as the unbeatable host of The Tonight Show.

Carson was a very gifted person and had a successful broadcasting career before the show that would make him a legend became his.

One of his greatest gifts as a communicator was his ability to ad-lib, that is make funny comments while doing a simple interview. One of the first shows that he hosted that enabled him to truly hone that talent was a game show from the late 1950’s entitled Who Do You Trust.

Email newsletter signup

I think of that title often when I listen to the news these days. When I was growing up, the news shows consisted, mainly, of a 30-minute recap of the day’s happenings. The newscasters had names like Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, Walter Cronkite, and Edward R. Murrow. Each of the three major networks had their venerable anchors.

We were a naïve country in those days and invited these broadcasters into our living rooms with confidence that we were receiving the truth. To think that these anchors would foist upon us their personal slants did not enter into our consciousness. As I said, we were naïve back then and we trusted whatever “Uncle Walter” Cronkite said.

Nowadays, a good question to ask would be “Who do you trust?”

No longer are there only three networks that have a half-hour or one hour program to condense the day’s news. Nowadays we have at least three networks, and actually more, that do nothing but news, or what they call news, 24/7.

Whereas in the old days, objectivity was the goal. We wanted to know the truth about what was going on. These days, it seems that we want to hear someone who agrees with us whether it’s the truth or not. “Just tell me what I want to hear,” we seem to say. We turn to news channels that will confirm that our own opinions are the right ones.

It’s frustrating to me that there is no bottom line standard of truth on which I can depend. Fox News tells me that President Trump’s latest decision to move the United States’ Embassy to Jerusalem is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

I only have to move two channels down to hear that his decision has set the possibilities of peace in the region all the way back to the Dark Ages.

Fox and Friends tells the truth yet Morning Joe is Fake News. It doesn’t matter if the Korean peninsula might soon be denuclearized because Stormy Daniels is the cat’s meow for the day.

“According to anonymous news sources, there could be the potential of a possibility that might have unintended consequences for another unnamed White House official.” Somehow, it’s hard to imagine that sort of gibberish being acceptable in the old-timey world of responsible journalism.

What it is, is downright silliness! Except that our nation needs to hear the truth. We also need to trust that what we are hearing is an objective picture of the truth. The Fourth Estate, also known as the news media, wields great influence over the nation.

If President Trump colluded with the Russians to tilt the 2016 election, let us know. If he didn’t, let us know that also. On the other hand, if the previous administration used nefarious means to affect the same election, it’s only fair that we hear about that. Let the chips fall where they may.

Just don’t tell me that the day is cloudy when the sun is shining. We deserve better than to wonder “Who do we trust?”