You need to buy a newspaper
But a good one, or something that looks like a newspaper, and you need to do it now.
All I could see these last days on Facebook and Twitter was news about “Alternative facts”, lies, manipulation, pure propaganda from the new US president and how he and his team are trying to undermine the work done by the press in general. At the same time in Belgium, my home country, a minister is trying to make us believe that he did not knew his closest collaborators had another job paid thousands of euros a months; while in France, an ex-minister and presidential candidate is visibly not aware that his wife is working for him at the parliament, and it’s not long ago that someone in UK wrote on a bus they would give back 350 million pounds to the NHS that never existed.
We have a say in french that says that the bigger the lie is, the easier people will swallow is.
And that is exactly the information world in which we live in right now. Politics can tell the most ridiculous lie on live television and some people will believe them, and they will keep on telling those lies until they are accepted. And let’s be honest if it worked for one to become the US president, why on earth would all the others not give it a try it as well?
We live in an era where the press has to research systematically everything politics are saying because lying has never been so easily accepted. Conspiracy theories are everywhere, the US president believes and spread conspiracy theories which will be relayed again and again and again.
The only weapon against that is good, relentless fact checking and investigation by serious journalists, those who do not back down, those who look to expose lies, those who are trying to inform, honnestly and without bias.
Those journalists need support, now more than never, because if we fail to support them, then the only thing we will receive is propaganda. Most of us have the chance to live in countries that allow free press, but how fast do you think this can change? How is the situation of the press in Russia? How is the situation of the press in Turkey? How long did it take to reduce to silence the press of opposition? Do you think you would still be able to recognize news from propaganda if the press wasn't free to publish what they want? Believe me, it’s not that easy.
I don’t want to live in world where american news would be Fox and British news would be the Sun, or the French news would only be le Figaro or Liberation depending on who is running the country. But if we don’t support those good medias, the ones that are putting the fight it will happen.
You don’t have to go buy a newspaper every day, you can subscribe to their on-line offer, you don’t even have to support a big media, it can be a small group of independant journalists working on a specific subject that could be politics, or economics or science … just find the one media that for you is the one that you think does a great journalistic job and support them the way you can. Because if no one is supporting financially the ones who presents the facts, the real ones, and do not belong to groups that will force them to treat a story according to their agenda, then these guys will not be able to fight anymore and we will be left with Fox news.
It’s easy to fume in front of our screen complain about the quality of the news we get but without support there won’t be anything else than that crap.
Does it mean you have to read only one source, of course not! Does it means you have to support everyone, again of course not! There is no press house you want to support in your country (hello Belgium), find another one in another country that you think deserves suppport.
My choice was on the Guardian, because they are independent, because of their role in exposing or covering a lot of major cases these last years (Snowden for instance), but again that is just my choice, pick yours. Big newspaper or small news outlet, just fond the one you want to support, in times like these we need that press, more than ever!
The facebook post from my friend Anne that started this article was this one, and it will be my conclusion:
Hey, I get that you’re fed up with “alternate truths”, but how many of you, sharing disgruntled posts, actually have a newspaper subscription? How do you expect decent media coverage to exist if nobody is willing to pay for it? I’d say it’s high time you did so.