This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

December 31st, 2001

No-Spin Zone

Caution, You Are About To Enter A No-Spin Zone!

No, I'm not picking on the spin fishers - heck, I know some of you do that too. No problem! Maybe I should have said a "no-hype" zone.

There is an interesting series of comments on the Bulletin Board about Large Arbor (LA) Reels. It is important, because there are some misconceptions as to what a LA reel really is, how it does or doesn't work, and why/if a person absolutely has to have one. Where did the misconceptions come from? It could be the manufactures put some hype on a new product to sell more, or a person discussing them didn't understand the differences in the wide variety available. Regardless, it all was discussed, (very thoroughly I must say) on the FAOL Bulletin Board. If you have any questions about LA reels, I encourage you to read the whole 'string' of comments.

As owners of this website, we do have the ability to remove any comments we wish from the Bulletin Board. We have rarely done so because we really believe in an open and honest exchange of ideas. JC and I don't always agree with the comments, and if our hackles are really disturbed we will say so. But the final choice as to what you personally believe is up to you. We just provide the best information we can, and a place to share ideas and comments.

Which brings me to a book I just finished reading. It is not about fly fishing. It is however very important to all of us. Title is Bias by Bernard Goldberg, published by Regnery. What makes it important is the fact that Bernard Goldberg was a writer (for Dan Rather of CBS), and a reporter for CBS News for nearly thirty years. He felt the news was slanted to the left and said so. He appealed to the producers and network executives for more "balanced reporting" to no avail. So he wrote the book - which was pretty much the end of his career at CBS.

I'm not going to do a book review here, but get the book and protect yourself. You really need to know how the "news" is manipulated, why and for what purpose.

My husband, JC and I have not watched any of the 'network' evening news programs in years. We got tired of the "spin" we saw, and for a long time we watched the The News Hour with Jim Lehrer PBS. It was better, but still wasn't necessarily 'fair and balanced' and frankly sometimes was just boring. Eventually our local television cable provider picked up Fox and Fox News. What a difference. It is fair and balanced, (to the point of me occasionally yelling back at the tv). There is still some 'spin' by some political types, but it sure shows up as just that.

As fly fishermen I believe we are more in tune with our world - but we only can be informed if we know the information we are getting is accurate. Today's network television "news" programs are much more likely to be entertainment rated rather than "news." And much more concerned about their ratings than with the facts.

If how we react to what happens around us, how we feel, if we support certain goals or priorities depends on the information we get, we have a right to get the straight stuff and let us make up our own minds.

Taking that one step further, don't you have the right to know the pro's and con's of every issue which involves our world? Our resources? Our fisheries? What you purchase? Are the so-called Product Reviews you see in print really product reviews or paid advertorials? We know they are real here - reviews of products that aren't necessarily of our Sponsors products. We wouldn't have it any other way.

The bottom line has always been, "Buyer Beware" - but without truly fair and balanced reporting in the news - or a product review - how is one to make up their minds? There may be "truth in advertising" laws, but there aren't any "truth in reporting" or even one law regulating truth in political campaigns or their television advertising.

In a world which becomes more complex every day, it is our responsibility to sort out those truths and then apply them to our own lives and circumstances. Being informed is not just sitting in front of the boob tube and mouthing whatever you hear to your friends and associates.

Did you know that over 50% of the US population gets its 'news' from late night television programs like Jay Leno and David Letterman? Those people even get to vote too!

It's a new year. If I would ask you to do anything special in 2002 here it is, be aware of how the 'news' is trying to influence the way you think. Listen carefully, I think you will be surprised. Oh, and read the book, Bias. You won't just be surprised, you'll be shocked. ~ The LadyFisher

If you would like to comment on this or any other article please feel free to post your views on the FAOL Bulletin Board!

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