The pack mentality that far too many people have these days is, well, alarming would probably be the more modest way of describing it.
See, I was sitting and browsing my social media feed last Thursday evening when I came across a Facebook post that caught my eye from the Global News TV station in Saskatoon. This was what they had posted: "Due to technical issues, Global News at 6 could not be aired tonight. We are working on the problem and hope to have everything working in time for Global News at 10. We apologize for the inconvenience."
Hmm, that's too bad, I thought. A group of people probably worked their tails off getting some stories done, but they wouldn't be seen on that night. But hey, those technical issues can even stump the best of us at times. You gotta love technology, am I right?
I couldn't help but notice that Global's post had a high number of comments, so I decided to take a look at what people were saying. Unfortunately, the reaction to the news station not being able to broadcast the news was about what I've come to expect from some people in 2022.
"What was the story you desperately had to hide?"
"Surely it will be the best slot global has put out in a long while" (I think he meant to say 'show')
"Don't worry, it must be a liberal thing."
"So disappointed. Where am I going to get my dose of propaganda this evening. I’ll be waiting patiently peeking out of my blinds, mask on waiting……praying that the 10pm script has extra fear mongering to get me through the night."
"You mean people actually watch your fake news?"
"No one cares, all you do is spread lies and fake news."
Yep, complete with grammatical and spelling errors, that's some of the viewing public that broadcasters are trying to reach on a daily and nightly basis. When I shared my thoughts to my own page, one of my Victoria film school teachers from back in the day probably put it best: "Thanks to social media, some have taken the 'freedom of speech' thing to an absurd, obnoxious and distasteful level."
I have to say, I fully agree with Mark here.
All the comments that were on this post from Global News can tell you a lot about the way many people view the media in 2022. It's sad, but true. A simple Facebook post about a TV station's technical issues can quickly become a hotbed of insults and childish name-calling. Now, just to check this off the list, let's go ahead and address the big question in the room - should the media be held to a high standard and expected to do their jobs to the best of their ability? Absolutely, of course! That should go without saying.
But when there's a sizable, loud contingent of people who have been brainwashed by the likes of people such as Donald Trump or by extremely one-sided, narrative-planting outlets who earn their bread and butter through hollow "GOTCHA!" journalism (hi, Rebel News!), then the reality is that the damage has already been done. Even if a news outlet is doing their job the way that they should, sometimes there's just no way of earning back someone's trust. I understand it, but that doesn't mean I like it, especially when a lot of these people are just letting loud-talking, boorish figureheads do their thinking for them. Do your own research, make your own opinion. Don't just follow the crowd.
These days, there's been a lot of talk about those in the media who are seeking mental health treatment. More than ever before, I completely understand why.
I answered yes to that question before that asked if the media should be held to a high standard. To be even more honest, we actually need to be held to a higher-than-high standard and do our jobs even better than how we did them before. That's because of the world we're living in now; a world where one section of society is obnoxiously shouting "FAKE NEWS!" at you before you've even pressed record or written a single sentence.
The truth is you just can't win with some people. They've already put you in a box and labeled it as such, and there's no way of finding your way out of that box. You're just kind of stuck.
All you can do is put in the work, do the absolute best job that you can, and hopefully you can look at yourself in the mirror at night and know that you've done your job honestly and with integrity.
Finally, I realize that with this particular column, I may have irked some people reading this and jerked the chains of others. If it does make you uneasy, just imagine how I and others in the media feel reading and seeing the comments that we do on a weekly and daily basis.
I just thought I'd share with you the unabashed point of view of someone who writes 'fake news' for a living.
Truth is, we're human. Just like you.
For this week, that's been the Ruttle Report.