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How To Stop Falling For Agenda-Driven News Reporting – Finding Reliable News Sources

  • Post category:News and Commentary
  • Post last modified:July 15, 2023
  • Post comments:4 Comments
  • Reading time:18 mins read
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In this post, I want to take a look at how we’re deliberately misled by the media and how we should react to that. Are there reliable news resources today? Were there ever? Let’s dig in just a tiny bit.

When many of us were growing up, we had icons such as Walter Cronkite on the CBS news every night, and even then, much of that “no agenda” reporting was an illusion.

As just one example, many people consider Cronkite’s reporting of the Vietnam War as a major influence in the eventual stalemate, where the United States essentially lost the Vietnam War1. Even President Lyndon Johnson named Cronkite’s reporting as a sign that Johnson should not seek reelection.

“If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America.”

President Lyndon Johnson2

Side Note

As a side note, I believe this was the moment that the government was beginning to see the power of the media and began working behind the scenes to control it. This is complete opinion on my part, and I have no proof or evidence to show for it.

Agenda-Driven News Of Today – There’s Always An Established Narrative

Yeah, Brian, but that was then and this is now.

True. We’ve moved so far beyond the three networks that I imagine that it’s impossible to even know the number of news and information resources we have at our disposal today. Most, if not all, of today’s reporting is agenda-driven news.

To be clear, agenda-driven news doesn’t necessarily mean conspiracy-level reporting. The left and right want your support and vote. Businesses want your money, the government wants your obedience, and social media wants your data. Everything has an agenda. Everything.

I’ll save the conspiracies and heavy commentary for my personal blog, but it’s no secret that all major news outlets today have an agenda, and that factor alone leads to how most of the reporting is done.

Even above profits, at times, and that is astounding. Almost as if the messages being cast have a much higher priority than truth, money, or even reputation.

It makes you wonder who or what, exactly, is running the agenda. Especially when much of the “Fake News” is embraced by worldwide networks with apparently different ideologies and backgrounds.

How Does The Agenda Driven News Affect The Average Prepper?

We just experienced over two years of absolute chaos, misinformation, and agenda-driven news to last a lifetime. Sadly, lives were lost, destroyed, and turned upside down while the world around us all but collapsed, and it’s getting worse.

As I write this, I just paid $50 for ten gallons of gas for my monthly gas rotation. Chicken is running over $3.50 a pound when you can find it, and eggs are becoming challenging to find. And you know better than anyone that I can sit here and go on all day long on increased prices and shortages of everything from baby formula to new cars.

We’re in a crisis.

This is two and a half years since the beginning of covid – and it is getting worse. Inflation is all over the news, wrapped in politics and opinion, and no reasonable advice on what to do.

  • The climate is dying, so buy an electric car. But not a Tesla because we don’t like Musk. Don’t look at the fossil fuel that provides electricity so that you can avoid fossil fuel emissions – we’ll tell you what you need to know.
  • Students are struggling, so get ready for student debt forgiveness, maybe, for some people, if they can figure out what hoops to jump – if politicians decide to print more money and help boost inflation even more.
  • To help democracy with support and influence of the Russia-Ukraine war in the form of tens of billions of dollars and far more than that in increased living costs for most of the modern world. Never you mind, the increased price of diesel alone has strained imports and transportation of goods to the edge of catastrophe.

You Get The Point

There are sides to every decision made – you are not part of the equation.

The danger for preppers (and everyone else) from sensationalized agenda-driven news is following the wrong path and allowing panic to cloud our judgment. Like buying radiation pills or expensive solar generators when they have less than a month’s supply of food, water, meds, and supplies. Or running up debt to “catch up” on our preps because it seems the end is near. If there were ever a worse time to panic, it has to be right now.

There is no time for panic buying – plan your preps and start with the basics and prepare for the most likely events.
Brian D. Hawkins

What’s A Prepper To Do?

Information is just as much a resource as beans and rice. We need to understand that wheat isn’t being shipped in the quantities the world is used to, fuel prices are expected to keep increasing, or that the masses are euthanizing chickens.

What Not To Do

Don’t Give Up – It’s Not Too Late

One thing we don’t want to do is to give up and bury our heads in the sand.

Look, you might think it’s too late to start prepping from all of today’s news. I think that’s one of the biggest casualties of this entire season of lies and painful truths. If you didn’t start prepping yesterday, start today. Don’t wait, and don’t throw your hands up in defeat!

Don’t Get Distracted

There’s no shortage of distractions available, some legitimate and others not so much. I’m not saying these things don’t deserve your attention. That’s a personal choice. For example, knowing about a local protest in your neighborhood is worth SOME of your attention.

I’m just saying it might not be a good idea right now to become so obsessed with the news flavor of the day that you forget about preparing for yourself and your family.

Just today, as another example, twenty minutes on the TV, and you’re going to be inundated with the Russia-Ukraine war, climate change, Roe v. Wade, gun control, school shootings, Canadian Freedom-hating Trudeau, the midterm elections, the price of gas, high inflation, Monkeypox, ridiculous pronouns, protests, padding the Supreme Court, and no, COVID never left the headlines.

And please don’t tell me you gave a second of your time to the Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard trial, the latest Tom Cruise movie, or Khloé Kardashian’s nude dress.

Conclusion – And Some Common Sense Solutions

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Most people have a political side they lean to. Some people are obsessed with it. Here in the United States, that is generally the left or the right. At the risk of getting sidetracked, following only those that agree with us is a bad idea. That group polarization just cements our beliefs, right or wrong, and clouds our judgment as individuals3.

In other words, if you’re obsessed with just Fox News or CNN and ignore other news resources, you’re misinformed. Guaranteed. Don’t let your politics get in the way of common sense or your survival.

Look For More “Center” or Less Biased Media

We only have so many hours in a day, and most of us don’t have time to follow every side of every event, but it is essential to at least understand that it’s primarily agenda-driven news, even those that we have come to trust.

The good news is we have a lot of choices. Or is that the bad news? 😉

Why Is This Important?

Getting a balanced amount of news helps us recognize deception and helps prevent the ‘programming’ going on worldwide. This can help steer us away from the sky is falling reports that have been sending people buying guns and ammo in record numbers when their pantries are likely empty.

Want a personal example? I have enough hand sanitizer to bathe in and PPE to supply a small army. Wonder how that happened?

The News I Follow – For Now

I’ve been asking, “Are there any reliable news reporting sources out there?” for years and haven’t had a single, definitive answer that fits my definition. People leaning to the right will say those are who to trust, the same with the left, and people of faith may gravitate toward a religious-based resource that follows their beliefs. It’s all agenda-driven news.

I want Mr. Spock! Is that too much to ask? I want the facts without commentary or opinion.

“Just the facts, ma’am.”

Sgt. Joe Friday – Dragnet (Nope- Wasn’t Him?4)

Since I can’t have Mr. Spock and commentary is a given, here’s what my news diet looks like regarding news-related stuff (Not necessarily news reporting). I just understand that everyone has an agenda, even if they say they don’t.

  • The No-Agenda Podcast – I’ve been listening to Adam Curry and John C. Dvorak for months now. Adam Curry is credited with being the ‘Podfather‘ of Podcasting. No Agenda states that they have no political motivations, although I feel they do lean to the right. They allow no corporate sponsorship, elect a listener-based monetization strategy and even go as far as using an open-source publishing method to prevent outside influences on their broadcast. The No-Agenda Podcast is lengthy (Today’s is just under two hours long), and I must admit, I listen to about an hour’s worth twice a week on 1.5 speed. I use the Podcast Addict Android App to listen to the show.
  • 1440 Daily Digest – I subscribed to 1440 Daily Digest in mid-March and read it every morning as a way to ‘skim‘ the day’s news. It’s not reporting but more of a condensed way of curated links to news stories. Just last week, another podcaster I respect and listen to recommended this same email news source.
  • The Megyn Kelly Show – Megyn Kelly is difficult to describe, and I love that. I can’t tell you if she’s left or right, but I can tell you this is all commentary. You won’t find news reports here, just one person’s perspective on the matter. Or two or three people’s perspectives if she has a guest or two on that particular news topic. I put the Megyn Kelly Show more in the entertainment category, but I do enjoy listening to most of the shows. If it’s a topic I’m not interested in, I move on to the next podcast. I’ll also skip ahead quite often.
  • The Daily Beast – Like 1440, The Daily Beast is a daily list of news links but with more of an agenda and pointing to their own news website. I’ve been a reader since February this year. Again, I don’t follow just one side. When I’m low on time, this is the first email that I ignore.

Can you believe I even have paid subscriptions to the NY Times and Wired? True story. Talking about agenda-driven news – the NY Times may as well offer a free WTO decoder ring with every subscription, along with their stick-on Great Reset tattoo.

I have more I read, watch, and listen to, but Megyn Kelly was already pushing it as far as staying on news-type broadcasts and publications.

I Showed You Mine, Let’s See Yours

I’d love to see what news resources you trust in the comments below. If I agree, after a trial, I’ll probably update this article to include it. Fair enough?

Call To Action / Next Step

Next Steps: Becoming A Prepper – Take On A Preparedness Mindset

Stay safe. Stay prepared.
Hawkins Out.

Fake News Can Have You Prepping All Wrong

References, Citations & Credits

  1. Achenbach, Joel. “Did the News Media, Led by Walter Cronkite, Lose the War in Vietnam?” The Washington Post, WP Company, 19 July 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/did-the-news-media-led-by-walter-cronkite-lose-the-war-in-vietnam/2018/05/25/a5b3e098-495e-11e8-827e-190efaf1f1ee_story.html.
  2. Friedman, Ian C. “‘If I’ve Lost Cronkite, I’ve Lost Middle America.” – Lyndon Johnson, February 27, 1968 ” Ian C. Friedman – Words Matter.” IAN C. FRIEDMAN – WORDS MATTER, 27 Feb. 2010, http://www.iancfriedman.com/?p=383.
  3. Henderson, Rob. “The Science behind Why People Follow the Crowd.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 24 May 2017, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/after-service/201705/the-science-behind-why-people-follow-the-crowd.
  4. Staff, MeTV. “Sgt. Joe Friday Never Actually Said ”Just the Facts, Ma’am” on Dragnet.” MeTV, 17 Jan. 2020, https://www.metv.com/stories/sgt-joe-friday-never-actually-said-just-the-facts-maam-on-dragnet.
  5. Featured image credit: by Jacob Baker from Pixabay

Brian Hawkins

Father, grandfather, Veteran, animal lover, law-abiding taxpayer, homeowner, trucker, and a United States Citizen. Oh, and I'm also a prepper, survivalist, responsible gun owner, and hiker.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Leam

    My list, every night, is rather wide. A short list would be, Fox, Newsmax, Townhall, Twitchy, Redstate, and Zerohedge. Then to CNN, MSNBC, VOX, SALON, Realclearpolitics, UPI, AP, etc, followed by RT, Sputnik, Pravda, TASS, Skynews australia, Japantimes, AlJazeera, People’s Daily China, South Africa, dw.com (Germany) … followed by Nationalinterest, special-ops.org, Lew Rockwell, and about 50 more. All sides, all opinions, worldwide. Soemtimes I wander off into the dark web and onion … It’s a big world out there.

    1. Brian Hawkins

      Wow Leam, that sounds like a full-time job, but I have a similar routine. I have a customized News Feed on my computer start page that uses dozens of news sites to create an endless list of articles. I browse through it a few times a day and read what grabs my attention.

      One thing for certain, you’re not sticking to one side of the story as confirmation and dismissing the rest. That’s what many people I know are doing. At the same time, you and me both have the challenge of sorting through a lot of junk and lies to find a grain of truth. I appreciate you sharing that.

  2. Mic Roland

    Hey Brian,
    Good article. Panic-prepping usually does waste folks’ time and money. Salesmen know it’s effective to create a sense of urgency. “Act Now!” It’s a major tool of email spammers. Gin up a big problem that can only be solved if you act fast. In the rush, people set aside their usual critical thinking. The same goes for people selling “prepper” stuff. They really don’t want you asking yourself, “do I really need that?” They know that if you did take a few minutes to think about it, you’d probably decide that you didn’t need it.
    So yeah, you can be all stocked up on radiation pills and double-sealed hazmat suits for a nuclear bio-attack but still not have more than a day’s supply of water on hand.
    It’s best to take time to think and plan instead of “act now!”

    1. Brian Hawkins

      Hi Mic, great point on the marketing tactics that capitalize on that sense of urgency that they’ve created on their 24-page sales site. Much of the news out there isn’t much better than some of those sales pages. The same holds true to many of the YouTube videos, social media posts, websites, etc. We’re inundated daily with a massive amount of fabricated news – all with their own agendas.

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