Letter: Beware of smack journalism

Nobody expects a personal column to be held to the standards of investigative journalism, but as our country navigates difficult times, it’s worth thinking about what kind of journalism is protein, what kind is empty calories, and what kind is like heroin.

Heroin triggers a reward response in the brain and nervous system, even though it isn’t delivering real value, so the user has to keep going back for more. Smack journalism won’t send you into convulsions or force you into rehab, but it can make your brain think that it is getting real information while exciting your nervous system.

Neither liberals nor conservatives have a corner on the smack journalism market. As it happens, it was a column by Cal Thomas that spurred me to write this. Every trigger that can be hit, however inconsistent, inaccurate and insulting, is hammered repeatedly. Thomas makes a lot of money peddling this smack.

Let’s agree that neither left-wingers nor right-wingers have higher intelligence, that neither Republicans nor Democrats have a deeper connection to God, that neither red nor blue have a better pipeline to a moral high ground, and that none of us have perfect answers about how to fix the world right now. Let’s leave our kids the best world we can — if not a unified world, at least a co-operative world. And as for smack journalism, in the words of Nancy Reagan, let’s just say no.

Joe Illick

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