Forget the Internet, Let the ‘Established’ Media Tell You About it

-By Warner Todd Huston

John Hollenhorst, reporter for KSL TV in Salt Lake City, Utah, wants you to forget about all those gosh darn Internet rumors. In fact, forget the Internet altogether and just rely on the “established news organizations” to tell you what is what. After all, it’s just too darn hard for the common folks to figure it all out. Alarmingly the “21st Century is putting a higher responsibility on voters to seek out the truth and ignore the ridiculous.” Imagine? Requiring citizens to go to all the trouble of actually seeking out the truth and learning about what a candidate really stands for? What a bother.

But, reporter Hollenhorst and his “expert” have the solution: Don’t bother and just make the Old Media your source for news. After all, the Old Media is the only one to be believed because they’ve got “the greatest credibility.” Right Dan Rather?

Hollenhorst’s report is a cornucopia of condescension. It appears to inform us that American citizens are just to stupid to separate the wheat from the chaff and to determine what are mere unsubstantiated rumors about Obama and McCain and what is real and to be trusted.

He quotes his “expert,” a professor Robert Avery, as saying that we should just let the Old Media do our research for us.

Avery thinks people who don’t have time to do their own research need to put some trust in professional information gatherers.

“There’s no question that your best bet is established news organizations. That’s where you’ve got the greatest credibility,” he said.

Greatest credibility? The New Media has pretty much made that claim a national punch line.

Ben Franklin is famously supposed to have said that he and the Founders had created a Republic “if we could keep it.” By that he meant that it was up to each of us to inform ourselves about the issues and philosophies of this great nation in order to make informed votes. But here comes Hollenhorst to let us know that we needn’t bother because his pals in the Old Media will do it for us.

Um, isn’t that why we are IN this situation? Because for decades we’ve allowed the leftist media to lead us all around by the nose?

But, no, according to Hollenhorst, we shouldn’t be expected to do our own research.

But how do you tell the difference? And, in an age when politicians score points by blaming the media, who do you trust?

The Internet gives us unprecedented access to information — and misinformation — about the candidates.

“It is becoming increasingly difficult to tell what is real and what is not,” said communications professor Robert Avery.

First of all, we are not in some new age where “politicians score points by blaming the media.” We have been in that age since the 1800 election between Adams and Jefferson… even before that.

The media has always been filled with scurrilous rumors, misleading stories and outright lies about our politicians. It has also always been up to the citizen to decide what to believe by careful consideration of the facts. Today is no different than yesterday except in the speed with which we can now access that information.

How we get the news is certainly faster, but the news itself isn’t in any way “new.” It is still presented by flawed humans with agendas, flawed humans without all the facts, flawed humans that just innocently misinterpret. Flawed humans are the root now, always were and always will be.

But, what we have here are two denizens of the Old Media trying to protect their dinosaur establishment and denigrate the New Media as inherently untrustworthy. The truth of the matter is, the New Media is no less trustworthy on the whole than the Old Media.

The fact is, it’s up to each of us to do enough research to come to a balanced, informed opinion. Listen to Ben Franklin. He was just a tad wiser than John Hollenhorst.

(Photo credit: KSL TV)


Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as,, New Media Journal, Men’s News Daily and the New Media Alliance among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events. He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book “Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture” which can be purchased on He is also the owner and operator of Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston

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