Caveat Lector — By John Reed

Caveat Lector
Two Latin quotes in two weeks…bear with me, the reason will become clear.
Last week I wrote about how the press is critical to keeping the public informed and the government in check. A lot gets said these days about slanted coverage, and there’s more than a little truth to the accusation. Most broadcasters and newspapers seem to favor liberals, with the loud exception of Fox, which has taken over the top spot among cable news sources by trending conservative.
A deeper look shows a messier story. Often “what” is covered as news tells more than “how” it’s covered. For example, we’ve been getting breathless minute-by-minute updates on the search for a missing college girl from Iowa, who eventually turned up dead. An illegal immigrant is accused of the killing; as expected, Fox had a field day with that. The other news outlets? Not so much.
But here’s the catch: during the same time period the national media covered the disappearance of one middle-class White girl, well over a hundred people of color were shot or killed in Chicago’s never-ending cycle of violence.
As the bastions of the Left, supposedly the guardians of civil rights and protectors for the downtrodden everywhere, you would have expected CBS, NBC, the New York Times et al to have voiced outrage at the black lives taken in an American city less safe than Damascus or Bagdad. Apparently they don’t matter after all. Actually, Fox mentioned the Chicago violence more than the others.
Truth has become secondary to “spin.” Consumers of the news [we, us, ourselves] cannot simply watch or read what’s being thrown at us. We need to take the time and thought to understand all the circumstances around the stories we hear about every day.
“Caveat emptor” or “buyer beware” means consumers assume a certain amount of risk when they buy a product. “Caveat lector” means “let the reader beware.” If I were ever so foolish as to want to be an editor, I’d put that phrase in big red letters across my front page of every issue.

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