Cyndi's Two Cents
Polarized by choice
My husband pointed out that the columns I have written for the past few weeks have been mostly “fluff” and “feel-good” and not very hard-hitting at all. He is not wrong. Unlike the news and markets and weather and other content my team of ag journalists creates, this column is a commentary. It is my opinion.
After consuming all that news and market and weather content, sometimes I need a break from the negativity. It can be overwhelming. A little “fluff” is a happy distraction.
It is both overwhelming and frustrating when listeners/viewers/readers do not understand the difference between fact and opinion. Kick that level of frustration up another notch when the person who creates and delivers that content (news, markets, weather) does not understand the difference between fact and opinion.
We all know that there are liberal channels and conservative channels in the national media. I cannot bring myself to call them “news” channels. Most of us of a certain age still remember when national news channels offered more balanced reporting. Fortunately, you will still find that more balanced approach coming from newsrooms at the local and state level. I’m proud to say that most ag reporters do a pretty good job of presenting the facts and letting their audience make up their own minds about how they should feel about that which is reported.
One of the reporters that works for me did a story recently about a Senate confirmation hearing for the administration’s pick for chief ag negotiator. The story covered what the candidate viewed as his priorities and covered his response to senators’ questions on a couple of key topics important to America’s farmers.
There was no political leaning whatsoever in the way the story was written or delivered. However, one of the readers of the story on our website felt compelled to bash the reporter and the network. For what? I’m not completely sure. He commented:
“It sure seems to me now as in the past that this news organization leans toward a liberal agenda. You do not represent the American farmers well. I have stopped reading and sharing your posts in the past. I am considering it again. Get your heads on straight. The Biden administration has no goodwill to the American farmers for that matter American business in general.”
Have we become so polarized in this country that we cannot read a news story without making assumptions about the deliverer of the news? I know many people are only comfortable consuming news/information/commentary that promotes their political views. Fine. But to pretend that it doesn’t matter what the chief ag negotiator has to say on crucial topics is ludicrous.