Will the Fake News Ever Report the News?

Mike Weisser
4 min readDec 5, 2023

When I was a kid (here we go again), the newspapers which we got at home, first The Washington Post and later The New York Times had what was called an ‘editorial page’ which contained several editorial comments from the newspaper’s editorial board and several op-ed pieces from guys like ‘Scotty’ Reston, who were old, white men with weekly access to the President.

That was it! The rest of the paper’s content was news reports either from reporters on the paper’s staff, or content from the wire services (UPI, AP) and was divided into local, national, and international news.

There was also a sports section, a section of classified ads for jobs and for selling your old car, and of course there were plenty of ads, particularly in the edition published the day before a big sales day like Black Friday (although they didn’t call it Black Friday back then.)

Every weekday night my father would come home from work, sit down in his easy chair in the living room and read that morning’s paper until my mother finished setting the table and we were all commanded to come into the dining room because dinner was ‘served.’

My father read two sections of the newspaper — the most important international and national news and the lead editorial — the latter read out loud. He read the editorial out loud so that he could then make comments about it which sometimes carried over into the dining room as well.

That was then, this is now. And now, thanks largely to those goddamn 24-hour so-called news stations like CNN, Fox, and MS-NBC, what used to be a clear distinction between fact and opinion has disappeared. And worse, with the advent of digital news venues which ‘stream’ content directly to your computer or phone, the merging of facts and opinions has only gotten worse.

Take a look at the digital edition of The New York Times. Now take a look at today’s print edition. Notice the difference? The print edition has an op-ed about Trump in the left-hand column, the rest of the front page contains news. The digital edition, on the other hand, contains more than ten op-ed pieces right at the top of the page, and of course readers are invited to make comments about those editorials so the paper can figure out which of their ed-op writers are attracting an…