President's Message: Fake News or Real?

May 15, 2017

There’s been a lot of talk over the past few months about “fake news,” with the conversation and the questions largely driven by our current President. 

National polls indicate a very dramatic erosion of confidence in whether the mainstream media is shooting straight or if they’re simply just making things up. Combative news reporters offering their version of the facts, but refusing to tell both sides of the story, does make you question their integrity and honesty. In just the past week, I’ve watched two prominent national reporters either roll their eyes at information being presented by a guest or become blatantly disrespectful and borderline hostile with a guest because the guest’s version of the facts didn’t meet with what the reporter clearly wanted them to be.

At the risk of having you take my name in vain, I’ll share with you that I was once a journalist. I know, that’s a dirty name in many circles today. But it’s true, I went to college, was trained and then worked as a television, radio and print journalist. The work is actually pretty fun, and I enjoyed the opportunity to always learn new and different things. 

But even back in the mid-90’s, you could sense a change was in the air… that many things about journalism were becoming opinion. Others I worked with at the time saw the same thing, and many of us left the profession disgusted because we started to see journalism shift into a vehicle to drive policy agendas and not to report the facts. The media are supposed to act as “watchdogs,” not as judge, jury, and executioner. Today, the media enjoys about the same level of public confidence that Congress enjoys. I’ll let you think on that one for a bit. (Hint… it’s not very good!)

To be fair, the world of journalism is a bit different today than it was for me. With the growth and development of the internet, the rise of social media, and the 24-hour a day news cycle, it can be difficult to keep up, and it can be challenging to cut through the clutter. This makes the job of a journalist a lot more difficult. It also makes it an even greater responsibility than ever.

Fortunately for our industry, there are an ever-growing number of media outlets who understand this responsibility and work diligently to share the facts. I watched all sorts of coverage of the recent NRA Annual Meetings on the Internet and through Twitter and Facebook. I simply could not be more proud of the work done by so many industry journalists, bloggers, and commentators. 

Their platform may not be as big as the mainstream media, but their message is rock solid and based on fact. They’re shining a light into the dark. And my hope is that through their work, they’ll bring back some responsibility and integrity to the journalism profession.

So to all the shooting sports industry journalists… thank you for what you do. Thank you for sharing the facts about the 2nd Amendment, our rights as citizens and the great stories of our heritage and culture. It doesn’t go unnoticed.

Until next time,

Kenyon Gleason

NASGW President

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