Last month, I had the opportunity to participate in a forum at the local VFW post that was hosted by the Republican 1st Monday political group.
The forum featured several people from local media outlets. Particularly, I was present representing the Pioneer; David Lovejoy attended for KGNC; Mike Gay for FTR Radio; Amy Sullivan for ABC 7 Amarillo; and Jon Mark Beilue for the Amarillo Globe-News. In addition, Pioneer favorite Trent Rosser was in attendance.
First, the attendance told me quite a bit about journalists in Amarillo. According to a person who helped organize the event, Karen Welch from Panhandle PBS declined to participate and Kevin Welch and NewsChannel10 also declined. Other media outlets, such as KAMR, were not invited to attend.
I appreciated the invitation and really enjoyed getting to answer questions posed by the people who read our publication. However, some of those on the panel were not as pleased about answering the questions from those who attended.
Jon Mark Beilue argued with attendees over the definition of the "MPEV" and clashed with other attendees over the performance of the previous Amarillo City Council. Other attendees left before the event was over.
In my mind, this was the best possible event that could have ever been held for local media. In this setting, we were charged with answering to the people who read our products. And I must commend those who stayed true to the focus of the evening and gave clear and precise and answers on the things that readers actually cared about.
The most interest point of the night came when moderator Dan Butcher asked us to define "fake news." Most panelists gave some type of free form, back-ended question that allowed them to escape giving a definite answer. David Lovejoy, however, gave the best answer of the evening.
"Just because you don't like something doesn't mean it's fake news," Lovejoy said.
What an incredible thought.
Just because some piece of news is disliked by a certain person or demographic does not mean that it is fake news. Likewise, just because an article is well liked by a person does not mean that the article is real news.
Media has done a major disservice to its consumers over many years. Those in the media have attempted to blur the line between truth and fiction, opinion and fact and honesty and speculation. It is shameful. In doing this, these media groups have become allowed to assassinate character with old stories, while gripping on to the splintering definition of media. This is how local media outlets have "justified" running two-year old stories on elected officials' arrests. Just in the same way, another media outlet "justified" running a story about a politician's conflict-of-interest with the City of Amarillo, without disclosing the journalist's spouse's conflict with the story.
We at the Amarillo Pioneer will continue to always try to bring you the best quality of news. We will investigate and report our findings and will only give you the facts, whether the political establishment likes it or not. No sugarcoating allowed.
Some do not like the type of news that we report. However, it is the truth and the truth only.
Thank you for reading the Amarillo Pioneer.
-Thomas Warren III, Editor-In-Chief