Inspired by Sinclair Broadcast Group’s tireless efforts to save American journalism from the chaos of unscripted freedom, I’ve adapted the widely reported lines from their “must-run” promotional TV spots in an effort to affirm my own journalistic standards.
Here’s my heavily augmented adaptation of the script. Let’s all read it together, in obedient unison:
Hi, I’m Todd Dorman, and I’m a columnist.
My greatest responsibility is to fill this space with words. Great words. The best words. Words making complete English sentences, maybe. I’m extremely proud of the quality, balanced journalism this column produces. And by “balanced,” I really mean “stable,” as in stable genius.
But I’m concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country. The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media.
You know the stories I’m talking about. The ones shared by “those people” on Facebook, in between slow cooker recipes and videos of unlikely animal friends.
Those people used to be reasonable. What happened? How did the Russians brainwash so many of your high school classmates? A dog befriending an elephant?
More alarming, some media outlets publish these same fake stories, stories that just aren’t true, without checking facts first.
You know the outlets I’m talking about, right? Of course you do. But you know what’s even worse? Fact-checking outlets. Who appointed them as the high-and-mighty checkers of facts, anyway? So smug.
Unfortunately, some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control exactly what people think.
Maybe you think that’s what I’m trying to do with my clearly labeled opinion column. Wrong! And I order you to stop thinking that way. Right now.
This is extremely dangerous to a democracy.
As dangerous as an erratic president openly and aggressively hostile to a free press actually reporting freely on his perpetually perilous cringe-fest of a presidency, as his enablers chant “fake news” endlessly? No, but still, pretty darn dangerous.
It’s my responsibility to pursue truth. I understand truth is neither politically left nor right.
But I also understand, in this our national moment of truthiness, up can be down, black can be white, huge can be tiny. Truth depends on which channel you watch, site you read or who you follow on Twitter. There are facts, and alternative facts, White House briefings and white lies.
But I’m only human and sometimes my words are not great, or the best. If you believe I’ve been unfair, please reach out.
Keep in mind I probably won’t heed demands to stop writing entirely, flee into exile or start writing opinions you like a lot better. That’s probably disappointing to many. Otherwise, we may find common ground.
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I consider it an honor and privilege to share my opinions in this space, and to work for an organization that has never once forced me to regurgitate some canned manifesto in this space promoting their views, and not mine.
l Comments: (319) 398-8262; firstname.lastname@example.org