Why a CNN junkie is also a FOX NEWS fan

I used to think I was a reasonably up to date ‘Classic Woman’. After retirement in 2016, I had some 60 extra hours to fill in my weekday schedule which could, much to my delight, be devoted to my feeding a voracious appetite for savouring and digesting al kinds of delectable dishes of brain boosting books, magazines, newspapers and informative television programs. I was known to open up my iPad at around 6 am to check out the CBC news and find out, with my thesaurus in hand, what Conrad Black was going on about on any given day, and be discovered still in my flannel Jammie’s at 3 pm, because I was drawn from one related article on politics to another, and another and yet another again.

I got into Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer and the like, and took in a lot of CNN. I was as addicted to CNN as a homeless opioid user on the streets of Vancouver to a daily shot in the arm at a safe injection site. My addiction was supported by a groundswell of agreement in my associates who also consumed the news as told by CNN and shaped the opinions I came to hold,  concerning the rise of the looming spectre of a Donald Trump as a potentially disastrous, bound to destroy democracy, candidate in the 2016 American election. If we think there was an opioid crisis in North America at that time it was likely only surpassed by the educated masses addiction and reliance on CNN.  And when CNN could not be accessed, I fed my addiction with a substitute which kinda worked, with ABC, NBC, or CBC driving my passion for politics right here at home.

I definitely was a complete CNN junkie and so was virtually everyone else in my network.

During that adjustment time in early retirement when one has few routines and searches relentlessly for time fillers with meaning, purpose or substance, I began more regular communications with several professional, erudite friends and relatives who actually reside in the USA, and our lengthy exchanges often turned to politics, as they often do among educated and caring people still hopeful of a better world by democratically empowering just the right competent leaders.

There were as you might expect many heated discussions. There were numerous angry comments. There were all kinds of expletives burning up the air waves which carried the down and dirty debates. And I have to place the blame squarely in the singular unfortunate fact that I let myself become a CNN junkie and became totally indoctrinated with a point of view that most of us bought into, about the passionate duly elected leader who became known as President Donald Trump.

I thought I knew everything possible about this dreadful, lying, cheating, womanizer that sought to ruin us all, and could handle all comers with my CNN based knowledge and research. I knew about Stormy Daniels and Donald Trump’s suspected collusion with Russia. I believed in the polls that comforted us junkies that Hillary Clinton would win the Presidency a hundred million to one, with or without an FBI insurance policy!

But something strange happened when a USA relative made me a deal.

It was a deal I was anathema to accept, but accept I did. I accepted because I was absolutely certain I was right. I was utterly satisfied my information sources were accurate, fair, and true. I convinced myself to suffer through this challenge of watching a station called FOX NEWS which was biased to the right so I could prove my American connections wrong. I am sure your stomach is starting to feel queasy if you too are a CNN junkie and have been ascribed status everywhere, by identifying as a Trump hater, but I did take the deal which was offered to me in jest, but also to prove a point.

My learned American connection offered to pay $4.00 per month for three months added service to my Rogers cable lineup which was the fee to bring FOX NEWS into my home and onto my Smart TV. I was required to give FOX NEWS equal time to CNN any day I succumbed to watching the tube. If I decided to cancel the subscription after the three month period, he would agree to give CNN equal time to FOX NEWS going forward in his home, so we could be hopeful of maintaining our treasured lifelong friendships and not obliterate and destroy it over politics.

I agreed and FOX NEWS became a daily feature in my home.

As I began to listen to shows like Hannity, Tucker and Laura Ingram I was strangely brought back to obviously long forgotten lessons taught by the good sisters in high school whilst preparing their charges for the Ottawa High School Debating Tournament. The wonderful nuns who coached our fledgling  team told us we must diligently prepare to the depths of hell, our case on both the Affirmative side of the argument and on the Negative side of the resolution, know both sides of every point that could be made and be able to attack or defend each argument with equal aplomb, understanding any and all points of view. Only when we had exhausted every possible source of information on our resolution, visited every library, consulted every reference, read every periodical review, sought out every research paper and thesis in the city, and in utter exhaustion begged her in one screaming united voice,

“It is finished! Have mercy on our immortal souls sweet Sister!!”

“We think we have it down! We think we know enough! We think it might be in the bag!”

“We now know both sides so well no one could detect our personal views or conclusions because we understand bias. Our team can debate this resolution without its presence in any of our arguments, conclusions or opinions. We will be among the best informed, the best prepared and might actually not only sound, but truly be, among the most intelligent debaters in the city.”

Yes. That lesson from over 50 years ago from a damn good teacher returned to me when I started watching both CNN and FOX NEWS concurrently. Much to my surprise I realized that my thinking and the thinking of most of the people with whom I associated had been coloured and shaped by a bias in my source which affected my opinions, thoughts and feelings about a man I never met, a man I never worked for and a man I had only heard about from sources that hate him.

Once I took on the deal I heard about a man with passion, an amazing work ethic, and someone who although not silver tongued, smooth and your charming typical politician, had a plethora of meritorious qualities which all kinds of Americans saw, appreciated and voted for. I heard about positive accomplishments by this outspoken business man and his promises to drain the swamp and make America great again. I suddenly heard about the charity work and efforts of a most intelligent and beautiful First Lady Melania Trump who was almost never covered on CNN. I began to change my thinking on some issues because I started to focus on the issues and policies that distinguish one camp from the other rather than focusing on the leaders who were presenting and advocating them. I began to see that black or white thinking is less intelligent that considering shades of grey. I was reminded that bias is a strong  presence in media and that I had failed to remember and appreciate just how much it affects one’s opinions and conclusions.

I had however to slowly come to terms with the clearly evident fact  that I had lost the deal with my American friend. I found I rather liked watching FOX NEWS and did not want to cancel it!  I was forced to realize that while I may have lost the deal, I ended up a winner at the very same time!

I made a deal with this American citizen who reminded me about bias and shoved it into my face full force. I was tricked by this $4.00 a month deal, into seeing my need to be wary of media influence in everything I watch and read. I was shamed into realizing I should  try to think like a debater and gather information from many different sources with many different perspectives. I began, because of this deal, to look at policies, think about policies and form my opinions on policies. I began to discount personality, gossip and behaviours in the past that to me are irrelevant to carrying out a particular job.

I am now not a Trump hater nor a Trump lover. I am however an onlooker on American politics who appreciates much better what media bias is and can speak to the many accomplishes of the current administration, the past administrations and will apply it to opinions of future administrations.

I actually now love to watch a news event and how it is presented on CNN and then how it is presented in FOX NEWS. I love to be able to discuss in all settings any current topic about American politics with understanding, facts and comments which can support all points of view on the subject under consideration.

I note that Donna Brazile, who according to the New York Times and Wikipedia was interim chairwoman of the Democratic Party and ‘ strident critic of FOX NEWS’, author of books including ‘ Hacks: the Inside Story’, and in my opinion a lifetime superstar among Democratic members is joining FOX NEWS. She is doing that  because she too knows about bias, about balance in the news, and wants to talk to FOX subscribers about her viewpoint on political issues respectfully seeking civil communication between Americans with differing perspectives. She wants to hopefully influence Americans towards rational thinking about adoption and implementation of  the best policies, regardless of who suggested it first. I kind of wish she were one of the candidates for the leadership of the Democratic Party. People like me would surely love her approach.

I continue to have FOX NEWS in my home. I am still watching CNN. I feel I am much better informed, to be honest.

And I rather think my high school debating team coach, a good sister of the Holy Cross Congregation would be proud of me! I can picture her now in her flowing black habit, her bespeckled Irish face smiling down at me from her sunlit room in heaven, thinking about her old student from the 60’s and her article.

‘Why a CNN junkie, is also a FOX NEWS fan!’  A decent read with a strong message," she‘d think.

“Glad you learned something at school, Adele!”