[Mailbag] Fake News? Here’s the Real Problem

We experienced something most folks these days will never be privy to. For several months straight, we tuned out the news.

No nightly broadcasts of the day’s tragedies. No hyperbolic headlines tossed upon our doorstep each evening. No politics… no tripe… no word from the “real” world.

And, yes, as we look back on our time in the Alaskan bush, we recognize it was the happiest time of our life.

It’s what has us utterly convinced the media must be blamed for the epidemic of unhappiness in America.

It’s no wonder, then, that when we wrote about California’s oh-so-ignorant plan to control the problem, readers got fired up. They flooded our inbox.

As we dig into our mailbag… it’s where we’ll start.

I agree with you that freedom of the press is free only when it is not censored by politicos, but that does not give anyone the right to publish false news. And let’s drop fake – there is no such thing as fake news in my book; it is either true or false. But we have always had a check on news media (which can now apply equally to social media). Reporters have never been free to slander others or publish something false without consequences. They can get sued for publishing anything false. Sometimes all it takes is an erratum, but if they don’t do that, the offended or objecting person can sue them and then our courts decide what is true or false, not some politico. – Reader J.H.

The reader goes on to point a finger at the high cost of the court system and the trouble with suing today’s huge media conglomerates. We don’t disagree.

We also agree on the idea of dropping the term “fake news” – but not for the reasons J.H. outlines.

We argue the term is a red herring. It’s tossed our way as a diversion from the real problem… the true danger to our great democracy.

That danger is obsessive news.

We live in a time when there’s more information at our fingertips than ever. And yet the nation’s media outlets seem to have the ability to focus on just one thing at a time. Turn to NBC, Fox, CNN or MSNBC… and they’ll all be covering the same story. They are eager to use their unique spin on the truth to turn the mundane into the latest mania.

It’s destroying our country.

The latest immigration battle is a fine example.

The sort of things so many Americans are upset about have been going on for years. They were just too lazy or too ignorant to seek the truth. But when their news source of choice makes it the only headline for a week, they’re tricked into thinking it’s a national emergency.

Next thing we know… crazies are climbing the Statue of Liberty.

But don’t worry. They’ll sound the alarm about something else next week.

We’re convinced it’s not fake news that will bring down America. No, that problem will solve itself. The real problem is the media’s ability to control the nation’s mindset by obsessing over just one story.

Whew… we’re rambling.

Hi Andy, fake news has always been with us and used for political purposes. Just Google “Boston Massacre as propaganda” and see that Paul Revere was not worried about stretching the facts to stir up political sentiment.

I really appreciate your writing and enjoy receiving the emails and commentary. – Reader D.M.

He’s right. Just five folks were killed during the incident – which started, by the way, as a snowball fight.

But the folks behind the headlines were politically motivated to get more folks on their side… so they turned to hyperbole. They turned the mundane into a mania.

It helped bring down one empire. And we’re convinced it will bring down another.

Changing direction…

We recently penned a column that focused tightly on the backbone of this project. We asked whether Trump had what it took to be a good man. As we expected, readers fired back. We’ve already shared some of the responses, but this latecomer is worthy of print.

Happy to see this column. Mr. Trump is a flawed man like the rest of us human beings. I have an issue with one of your comments, and that concerns his relationship with his family. It appears to me that, for the most part, his relationship with his children is excellent. They work with him, have for years and, considering he has been divorced from their mother, this is a testament to something in his character that is worth mentioning. How many fathers, divorced or single, have relationships that work this well? Give credit where credit is due.

I believe his relationship with his ex-wives is civil also. Certainly not true for many. Let’s give everybody credit, and not the least Mr. Trump. – Reader C.E.

Tying into our column on justice yesterday, C.E. is right… we must give credit where credit is due.

While we still argue that so many of Trump’s relationships do end with trouble, we can’t deny that he has kept strong ties with his immediate family.

That’s certainly a must-have trait for a good man.

Andy, the reason I follow is because of your lifestyle… I find it interesting that people have NO desire to be able to self-sustain. This is all I know. I follow you because I want to learn something new. Most of the things you talk about I live and breathe every day. We can our food from our garden and I am an avid archery hunter (fill my freezer every year with venison from six to eight deer) and fisherman. This is not a hobby or sport. IT IS A WAY OF LIFE TO ME. My best friend is a professional fisherman who is in King Salmon working for four months a year. I will be there for the first two weeks of September to fill my freezer with coho and hopefully a moose… doing it by a float of 80 miles down to Egegik. So keep it coming. Right now I am working, too, on my Virtues of Ben Franklin. That is stuff that I like, thinking outside the box.

You can’t please everyone no matter how much you try… that was a hard lesson for me to learn… sorry for rambling on so long.

Thanks again, Andy, I just wish I would have thought of your idea sooner myself. – Reader F.E.

We wish we could print F.E.’s note to us in its entirety. But it was quite long, and our space is quite short.

His story is incredible. It’s of a boy who grew up in hard times but, thanks to hard work and determination, grew into a man with a thriving dental practice and a healthy lifestyle.

He proved that success in our culture does not have to be defined by material goods or money. He proved it’s all about the Triad.

We, too, will be in Alaska in September. Maybe we’ll pass each other on the river.

One more…

Andy, my wife and I were excited to hear that you were speaking in Las Vegas a couple of months ago. Unfortunately, our son was graduating and we couldn’t make it. Are you speaking again anytime soon? – Reader S.S.

We can’t help but stroke our pride and print this note. Sorry.

But, yes, we are speaking again soon. The event is sold out though.

If you’d like to get the audio of our latest presentation – including a slew of our hottest stock picks – click here.

Keep the questions and comments coming. Email us here.

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