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News and opinion blurred

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The Fourth Estate Not too long ago, news was written by men and a handful of women, usually educated and respected. They sometimes had their facts straight, though depending upon which publication they wrote for, you could expect to see a liberal or conservative leaning. Perhaps this was why we bought that particular newspaper or magazine. We might have wanted to read about our side giving it to their side. At the same time, opinions were written by us and were relegated to the Opinion Page. Not too long ago, PBS, NPR, National Geographic, and even CNN, could be expected to deliver unbiased reporting. There were no look-at-me-aren’t-I-funny comedians delivering the news. Basically, “That’s the way it is,” was the way it was reported. Then liberals took over with their dire reflections and predictions of doom, and the Fox Comedy News Network made news fun. Funny, even. And, finally, irrelevant. But it does sell a lot of potato chips. All of this has changed with blogs, texting and twitters. Now everybody is a reporter replete with bias, horrible punctuation, misspellings and lies. Blogs allow even the most decent of neighbors to turn against each other, hiding behind some clever screen name. In the 18th Century, the First Estate applied to the clergy. The Second Estate referred to the wealthy, and the Third Estate were common folks — the worker bees. Of much greater importance was the Fourth Estate: reporters. Oscar Wilde wrote, “in olden days, men had the rack. Now they have the press.” Factual news reporting consists of who, what, when, where, why, and how. Anything else lends itself to opinion and speculation. Impacts of events should be left to the educated reader. News and opinions have become blurred. Perhaps it’s better this way. It stems the bleeding. Taumas Colliver, Foresthill