Our tribalism is destroying confidence in objective reporting
I have a question for you. Let’s say you live in Ontario. When was the last time you didn’t read an article in the Toronto Sun criticizing PM Justin Trudeau (or anything small-L liberal)? When was the last time you didn’t read a Toronto Star article criticizing Ontario Premier Doug Ford (or any small-C conservative)? I don’t know about you, but I’m sick to death of newspaper reporters injecting opinions that masquerade as news in their stories. Again, most readers don’t give a rat’s behind about a writer’s personal opinions. If they do, they should seek out the editorial pages or a specific columnist. Please, just give us the raw facts. We’ll make up our own minds. For me, left wing or right wing are positions on a hockey team.
I’m sick of the Toronto Sun, for example, labeling anyone who disagrees with them as liberal lefties. I’m just as sick of the Toronto Star running articles ad nauseam about bicycle paths – as if they’re the key to our city’s future – while criticizing the city’s drivers. You’ll notice that I didn’t include the Globe and Mail or National Post. I find that most often, they actually present both sides of an argument and back their conclusions up with something called facts. OMG!
I guess, as human beings, we simply can’t resist placing a label on those who don’t agree with us. This behaviour showcases one of the worst traits of our species – tribalism. And it’s destroying our faith in objective reporting. So why is this happening? Well, because of current financial pressures on newspapers, they’re now catering primarily to their bases. Sorry folks, but that’s not real journalism – at least not the kind I was trained to write.
So here’s my advice to fellow journalists, which I’m sure they’ll dismiss. I’m always willing to listen. But if you want to convince me of anything, then before you commit your ideas to the printed page, try writing something meaningful – not something mean.
Until next time, always remember that we’re here to help.