With as much real news as we have been confronted with recently, one wonders how people still have an appetite for what is unreal - or fake.

The problems are multifold.

First we have an Internet that fosters a mistrust of institutions. While a healthy skepticism about life can be productive, I’m not inclined to believe if someone truly found a cure for cancer that it would be impossible to keep it a secret. Yet, the Internet abounds with statements such as, “What your doctor doesn’t want you to know,” or “what big insurance companies are keeping from the public ...”

Give me a break.

Second, we have a president who has characterized the media in blanket statements as being fake, false, liars, etc. This is a unique problem. Not all media have bought in to the polarity of ratings – driven polarization we see with CNN and Fox.

The challenge for people as rich and/or powerful as our President is their inherent disdain for that which they cannot control. The President has done much damage to those credible journalists, of which there are plenty who stay up for days on end to report on such disasters as Harvey or a presidential campaign. As a society, we should all hope those in power cannot silence or bully all of their critics.

Third, we have social media. I’m not sure which one is the worst but Facebook seems to be the platform containing the most unreliable ripples. Just in the past several days, we have seen a gas panic that was not a gas panic and a hurricane tracker for the storm called Irma complete with a map showing it heading straight toward Houston. What a pitiful situation.

You have to wonder if such panics could create a run on a bank, for instance.

Finally, we have a public with an appetite to blindly consume information from unreliable sources. It makes me cringe to read some of the things people actually say on social media. Just recently I noticed a post containing language thanking Mel Gibson for making the movie the Patriot so that the Civil War was accurately portrayed. Think about it.

Our company has been in the news business in Tyler since 1877. Our mission is to Inform, Inspire and Involve. We recognize many responsible citizens may be collaborators in the dialogue shaping our community. We are staffed to cover anything in our community that matters to our readers here and beyond. Our payroll for news alone is close to $1 million per year.

We stand ready to cover the real news happening in this region, such as the chemical episode at Brookshire’s warehouse last week to the water main break in the Old Jacksonville corridor. If you are aware of something going on let us know and we will happily check it out and bring you a report upon which you may rely.

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