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I Still Don’t Trust the Media…

Last year, I podcasted about my distrust of the news media. Since then, my feelings have not changed. However, I have found new resources to help me decipher facts from facts framed a certain way and downright lies. I’m going to share them along with the transcript of the podcast I posted last year. With so much going on with the upcoming Presidential election and Supreme Court nomination, I am all the more skeptical about what I read in the news. I crave a balanced viewpoint.

I Don’t Trust The Media. This is Why…

Hi, I’m Jim Stroud and this is my podcast.

Let me read you a few headlines then, make a prediction that I am more than certain will come true. In 2016, Gallup reported that “Americans’ Trust in Mass Media Sinks to New Low.” In 2018, Columbia Journalism Review said, “Most Americans say they have lost trust in the media.” Also, in 2018, this headline from TVNewser, “Study: Half of All High School Students Don’t Trust the Media to Report Accurately and Fairly”  And quite recently, in July 2019, USA TODAY had a headline that read, “Trust no one? Americans lack faith in the government, the media and each other, survey finds.” And that article quoted a Pew Research Center study that said, “61% say the news media ignores important stories.”

All that being said, I predict that the news media, especially the mainstream news, will never again have the high confidence of the American public; as it once did decades ago when Walter Cronkite was the most trusted man in America. But why? What are the underlying factors of News production that have made the American public so skeptical? Well, I count the reasons why, after this message from my sponsor.

{ sponsor: Brought to you by Supapass }

One reason why the public cannot have full confidence in the news media is because it is in business to make money, not share truth. Case in point, consider the pharmaceutical industry. Does this sound familiar to you? {clip of Chantix commercial} Now listen to the possible side effects that could affect the people taking the drug. {clip of Chantix commercial with the side effects being listed.} I’m not a lawyer, but I imagine the drug companies are compelled by law to mention those potential harmful effects or at the least, they do so to reduce the risk of lawsuits. I get 2 notions from that.

On September 26, 2018, the blog Biopharma Dive published an article called, “Pharma advertising in 2018: TV, midterms and specialty drugs” and here is a quote:

Just considering television, 187 commercials for about 70 prescription medications have collectively aired almost half a million times since the start of 2018. And to do that, drug companies shelled out $2.8 billion, according to marketing analytics provider iSpot.tv.

With so much money coming from pharmaceutical companies, do you think that plays a factor when reporters are writing their stories? Of course it does. Listen to this clip from the TV show, “America’s Lawyer featuring Mike Papantonio.”

Reason #1 why we cannot trust the mainstream media is the influence wielded upon by big advertisers – like the pharmaceutical industry. Reason #2 is the personal bias of the people who own the media.

One thing I found surprising when I was researching this episode was how much of the mainstream media is an illusion of choice. When you follow the money, you discover that 90% of all news, again, I say, 90% of all the mainstream news is produced and controlled by only 6 companies and they are: GE, News-Corp, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner and CBS.  When you look on sites like Open Secrets which tracks contributions to politicians, the pattern is obvious. The majority of the big 6 companies that own the mainstream media are highly sympathetic to left-leaning liberal Democrats and are more than a bit adversarial to right-leaning conservative Republicans. When I learned that, this explainer video I found on the Media Research Center website made sense to me. Here’s a clip…  

Big money from advertisers influences the news.

Political bias influences the news.

And both are reasons not to trust mainstream news. Here’s a third reason – Some reporters are not trustworthy. Reporters lie, take payoffs and make things up to get headlines. Here are just a few examples I found on the website – ThoughtCo. Each one was a scandal, let’s see if you remember them.

A 2005 report by USA Today revealed that the Bush White House had paid conservative columnists to promote the administration’s policies. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were paid to columnists Armstrong Williams, Maggie Gallagher, and Michael McManus. Williams, who received the most loot, acknowledged he had received $241,000 to write favorably about Bush’s No Child Left Behind initiative, and he apologized. His column was canceled by the Tribune Co., his syndicator.

Popular NBC “Nightly News” journalist Brian Williams became embroiled in a scandal when he claimed to have been in a helicopter hit by a missile in 2003 when reporting on the invasion of Iraq. Actually, the helicopter hit was in front of his. He first recounted the story on David Letterman in 2013 and elsewhere. In 2015 a soldier in the helicopter that was actually hit heard the story and didn’t recall Williams being on his particular transport. Williams wouldn’t say that he lied but rather explained that his order of events was a result of his faulty memory. “I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago.” He was put on leave for six months without pay and then replaced on the “Nightly News.” Williams moved on to MSNBC.

Rolling Stone ran a huge story about several University of Virginia men who reportedly raped a woman as part of a fraternity initiation (“A Rape on Campus”). The source fabricated her story. It was only after the story was published that the source’s story started to unravel, when the writer was following up on a detail that the source refused to divulge during the interview portion of the reporting. The magazine settled a lawsuit with the fraternity, agreeing to pay $1.65 million in defamation damages, some of which was to be donated to charities dealing with sexual assault victims.

In light of big money from advertisers, media bias and the occasional bad egg, who can you trust to get your news? Well, I have a bit of a formula. I look at media outlets that are diametrically opposed to each other in terms of how they report the news then, I search for points where they agree and that is what I accept as truth. On the points that they disagree, I do my research further by looking at the alternative news outlets. And yes, it’s a lot of work, but something I feel I have to do on certain topics. I shouldn’t have to do it but, what other choice do I have?


And all that brings me to this new and very timely resource from “AllSides Media Bias Chart.” From their website…

The AllSides Media Bias Chart helps you to easily identify different perspectives so you can get the full picture and think for yourself. Knowing the political bias of media outlets allows you to consume a balanced news diet and avoid manipulation and fake news. Everyone is biased, but hidden bias misleads and divides us. The AllSides Media Bias Chart is based on our full and growing list of over 800 media bias ratings. These ratings inform our balanced newsfeed…

The AllSides Media Bias Chart is more comprehensive in its methodology than any other media bias chart on the Web. While other media bias charts show you the subjective opinion of the one person who made it, our ratings are based based on multipartisan, scientific analysis. We use multiple methodologies to rate bias.

Now, I have another resource for discerning truth. Hopefully, it will be of use to you. Pass it on.

Does more workplace diversity mean more workplace racism?

I am so appreciative of the support I am getting from my subscribers, pals and those who prefer to remain anonymous. (I respect your reasons.) Quite recently, I had this exchange with one of my readers who reached out to me. It was in response to my most recent “Things I Think About Podcast” which focused on the negative effects of diversity quotas.

I completely agree with ur assessment- however, quotas are going to begin to trickle in all areas of our lives – this was BIG in business years ago. It always amazed me that people aren’t /weren’t always hired because they have/had the skills and qualifications for the job. Where there are quotas, the output and quality of things will be in jeopardy. What’s even a bigger concern for me is when u have an employee that isn’t performing to the level of what is needed in the job and u can’t take the appropriate action as u fear the action / backlash because they are a minority– race, gender, etc.

– Anxious in Atlanta

I thought that was a very interesting point and one of those things that HR departments dread happening inside their company. As I reflected on it, a podcast I produced a year ago came to mind. In the podcast, I predicted the increase in racism at the workplace for a variety of reasons. Although I had no idea of the levels of civil unrest we are experiencing today, my theory was based on survey data from a polling app called – TruePublic.

One of the polling statements posed on the app was “Racism is still common in the American Workplace” and you as a TruePublic user had the choice to agree or disagree with the statement. I thought the results were interesting. Out of the 1,201 votes, 84% of Democrats strongly agreed that racism was common in the workplace whereas 62% of Republicans did not. Independents were in the middle at 75%. For those who were Hispanic or Asian, the view was 80% agreeable, Blacks strongly agreed at 86% and Whites agreed at 71%. And there were other breakdowns available, to see them all, download the TruePublic app and find them there. But, I digress.

Why did so many people feel that racism proliferated in their 2019 workplace? Was it really that common? I remember thinking that it wasn’t because such had not been my experience. Out of curiosity, I researched it and remembered thinking how fortunate I was to not experience the drama others had been going through. I’m going to share some of the research I looked up a year ago and invite you to comment on the state of racism in the workplace today.

For those who don’t know about the EEOC here is an overview of what they do, straight from their website.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (aka EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

Most employers with at least 15 employees are covered by EEOC laws (20 employees in age discrimination cases). Most labor unions and employment agencies are also covered.

The laws apply to all types of work situations, including hiring, firing, promotions, harassment, training, wages, and benefits.

Among other things, the EEOC tracks how many cases of discrimination they process per year, per state. In case you are curious, Pennsylvania (4,463 cases), Texas (7,482 cases) and Florida (6,617 cases) were the states with the most cases processed by the EEOC in 2018.

Here are a few interesting cases related to racism in the workplace that you might not have heard about it in the news.   

CareerAddict reports on JPMorgan Chase, quote…

Amidst ongoing allegations of a lack of diversity on Wall Street, high-profile investment bank JPMorgan Chase settled out of court for $19.5 million with six of its employees last year, citing its commitment to ensuring a diverse and inclusive environment as its reason for avoiding litigation. The six employees in question – located at JPMorgan Chase branches across the US – claim that they were relocated by the bank to less lucrative branches than their white counterparts, thereby denying them numerous career and growth opportunities. As part of the settlement, an additional $4.5 million will be set aside to fund anti-discrimination training, BAME recruitment drives and coaching programmes for black employees.

Campus Safety Magazine reports, quote…

A federal court in Virginia has entered a $200,000 judgment against Old Dominion University (ODU) in favor of Brett Birkmeyer, a white former police officer in the predominantly black ODU Police Department, who sued ODU claiming he was fired by ODU because he is white and because he complained to ODU officials that he and other white employees in the ODU Police Department were being subjected to race discrimination.

And this case, EEOC v. Hamilton Growers, Inc., I found on XpertHR. Quote…

Hamilton Growers, Inc., d/b/a Southern Valley Fruit & Vegetable (Southern Valley), agreed to pay $500,000 to settle a claim of racial bias brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC alleged that Southern Valley violated Title VII by terminating almost all American workers while retaining most of its workers from Mexico. The EEOC also claimed that American workers were provided with “lesser job opportunities,” subject to different terms and conditions of employment such as delayed starting times and early stop times, or denied the opportunity to work at all, while Mexican workers were permitted to continue working. In addition to the monetary settlement, Southern Valley agreed to exercise good faith and implement nondiscriminatory hiring practices by recruiting and retaining qualified American workers and African-American workers for all farm work positions.

When I looked for examples of judgements awarded as a result of EEOC litigation and/or related lawsuits, I wanted to find a pattern. I wanted to gauge if racism in the workplace was an actual thing or, if it was something that disgruntled employees do. After all, just because people file a case against an employer for discrimination, doesn’t make it so; especially in light or the political and cultural divide going on in 2019 America (when I first looked this stuff up). So, imagine my delight and subsequent disappointment, when I stumbled across this book called –  “Rights on Trial: How Workplace Discrimination Perpetuates Inequality.”

The authors Robert L. Nelson and Ellen Berrey were discussed in a Huffington Post article of which I will quote…

The authors of the new book, Rights on Trial: How Workplace Discrimination Perpetuates Inequality, examined nearly 2,000 cases filed between 1988 and 2003 across the U.S.. The three authors interviewed more than 100 plaintiffs, defendants, lawyers and involved parties to find that the workplace often is not fair in cases of discrimination. The success rate for cases of discrimination filed is dismal; only two percent of plaintiffs win at trial. That is after 19 percent of the cases were dismissed. Half or 50 percent have early settlements, 18 percent of the cases are lost on summary judgment and 8 percent of the cases have a late settlement.

To promote the book, the author posted audio of some of the people they interviewed for the book. Here are some of the clips I found interesting.

In the future, I think there will be more racism in the office because at its core, racism is the result of willful bigotry. I don’t know you personally, so I rely on stereotypes and groupthink to form my opinion rather than identify you as a person. People do it all the time which is why racism persists. The changing demographics of America will surely exacerbate some of that. Do a search on DuckDuckGo or Bing or Google for the phrase “the browning of America” for more insight into what I mean. As more and more people enter the workforce from diverse backgrounds that you do not know, understand or want to understand, the more racism will persist, to varying degrees.

Now add to that more women in leadership positions competing against men, and that increases the likelihood of gender discrimination (and reverse gender discrimination). As minorities increase in the population, more cases of reverse discrimination will likely occur.

And I don’t think that’s a race thing or a gender thing (for that matter), I think it’s a human thing. No race or special group is without sin, in my opinion. Just put that group, any group in power and watch them eventually take advantage of those with lesser influence.

One of my heroes, the Rev Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

On one hand, my country still has some work to do before Rev King’s dream is fully realized yet on the other hand, we have come a mighty long way. So much so, that I refuse to believe that America is an inherently racist country. And I am not the only one who thinks that way. Listen to how this African American radio personality – Larry Elder responds to the question, Is America Racist?  

Now, I want to hear from you. The way things are now, should we expect more racism in the workplace or less? Will companies be afraid to fire nonperforming minority workers because of political correctness? If so, how many companies will lose profits because of that? How many people will leave said company because they are outraged or offended or simply feel that they are unfairly treated? Please, please, please share your thoughts.

Go Woke and Go Broke: Diversity Quotas Will Kill Your Business

In my latest podcast, I discuss the new diversity quotas that must be met before you can win a “Best Picture” Oscar. I then give examples of how diversity quotas have caused potential harm, were a waste of time and contributed to a large amount of death. When concluding, I make numerous predictions about the demise of Hollywood unless they change course immediately. Tune in now! Special thanks to my sponsor – Black History Quiz. Subscribe to their newsletter today.

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