The prolification of misinformation


By Andy Winemiller - awinemiller@civitasmedia.com



I never thought my career would turn toward journalism.

I did some journalism while I was in the army, but I always thought I’d get into activism or lobbying — something like that.

I love the game of politics and enjoy having a front-row seat to the workings of government.

Journalism seemed like an odd turn for my career, but it seems like something I enjoy.

I take my job very seriously. Though it’s tough to step out of the realm of playing the game and create a separation that is necessary to appropriately narrate the game, I think I do a pretty good job of it.

Most of that is easy. You just report the facts — as many facts as you can.

I think pretty highly of our readers. Thus, I let them sort out what matters and what doesn’t. I let them decide who’s lying, and who’s a straight shooter. I let them decide what’s relevant.

In nearly everything I write it’s not my job to have an opinion. It’s not my job to advocate. It’s also not my job to protect or create somebody or something’s legacy. They do that on their own. They also create their own destiny.

Once a week — in this piece — I get to have an opinion.

It varies greatly. Sometimes it’s light-hearted, and sometimes it’s a little harder-hitting. Whatever it is, it’s my opinion. I don’t particularly care what anybody thinks about it.

I do, however, care greatly about what people think of my actual reporting — the facts-based stuff. I try pretty hard to keep it just that — facts-based.

It’s a little harder than it might seem. There’s a lot to sift through, and a lot of people just don’t like facts.

In fact, the nation’s top executive officer doesn’t like facts. He prefers to refer to facts as “misinformation.”

President Obama’s list of “misinformation” is long. The dirty Republicans spread “misinformation” about Obamacare and Obama’s war on the second amendment.

Media outlets like Fox News used “misinformation” to call a nuclear deal with Iran a dangerous one.

I’m sure “misinformation” is what has led to the military’s decision to try a deserter for whose life Obama bartered five known terrorists.

This “misinformation” thing seems pretty dangerous. It could be the scariest matter in our news today.

It gets worse.

There is a proliferation of “misinformation” here in Mount Airy. What’s more, there’s even an abundance of the fecal matter of male cattle. Apparently, it’s all over the place and tough to see through.

Most of politics is about framing a message. It’s not nearly as much about what the message is as it is about how the message is delivered.

So back to this “misinformation” thing, it seems some think there’s a bunch of it in the publication for which I work. It seems some around town have misinterpreted the role of a reporter and of a newspaper.

Again, as a reporter I report facts and events.

I cover county government. When somebody speaks at a county commissioners meeting I report what they say. I report any and all relevant facts.

It seems all this “misinformation” in Mount Airy has been focused on one thing — The Westside Redevelopment Plan.

This plan is controversial. It’s controversial because plenty of folks are saying “no,” while others are passionately advocating for the plan. That’s a fact, or as some call it, “misinformation.”

There’s no doubt it has many folks at odds, and the plan has even led to the formation of a group to fight the plan.

Let’s clear up some other “misinformation.” Eminent domain is absolutely an authorized tool under state law. The Redevelopment Commission hasn’t said they will use the process. However, a clause stating the commission doesn’t intend to use it is relatively meaningless. Do I think they will? No, but it is still on the table per the law (those supporting the program really like to quote the law).

Additionally, attorneys have assured me the original purchase of the Spencer’s property was legal. OK. I buy that based on my reading of the law. However, it wasn’t a process which ought to create trust. I don’t trust officials who spend the hard-earned dollars of taxpayers behind the backs of those taxpayers.

It’s pretty hard to frame a message when it starts that way. Maybe that’s why there’s so much “misinformation.”

It seems those who favor the plan are taking the Obama route. If you don’t like facts or you don’t like the opinion of somebody else, just call it “misinformation.”

If that doesn’t work and those bullying career “misinformationalists” (that word is only found in the dictionary of Winemiller) continue to print facts you might even call it the feces of male cattle.

We should all train our children to use the word “misinformation” as they kick and scream on the floor because they didn’t get their way.

When they get older and lose a popular vote of the people they might even graduate to calling facts the fecal matter of male cattle, while blaming their loss on somebody else.

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By Andy Winemiller

awinemiller@civitasmedia.com

Andy is a staff writer for The News and can be reached at (336) 415-4698.

Andy is a staff writer for The News and can be reached at (336) 415-4698.

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