A generation ago the face that described the accounts of the day on your television screen each evening was that of a trusted friend who seemed to deliver news without opinion, without spin, without agenda.
Things have changed.
Today, hundreds and even thousands of sources on television and over the Internet inundate you with news, and more and more often the message coming your way is biased. The same event will be presented in vastly different ways from one channel to the next, the same action described as heroic on one network even as another declares it dastardly. Guests who appear as impartial observers are often close allies touting the party line of the politician he or she purports to be analyzing.
There is more information than ever before in our history, but getting a clear, unbiased view of the goings-on has never been more difficult.
As we write this Editors' Note we find ourselves in the thick of the debate season leading up to the 2016 presidential elections. The chatter is nonstop, the message differing widely depending on which outlet you chose to view that particular evening and which source is being interviewed.
An enormous backlash from the public is directed toward incumbent politicians. Many of those leading in the polls as this issue goes to press have no political background. This reflects the overall disappointment and disgust with the lack of progress and decision making in Washington. The recent nuclear deal with Iran, for example, is largely unpopular, with voter disapproval ratings ranging from 41 percent (according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll) to 58 percent (according to Fox). A majority of Americans disapprove of those in power. The approval ratings for President Obama, a Democrat, are in the mid-40 percent range, according to Gallup. Ratings for Congress, controled by Republicans, are even lower. People are clearly unhappy with their current leaders.
In this difficult, conflicted world we wanted to know—are we getting objective news and analysis from network and cable television? To delve into this important subject, we asked longtime political analyst (and cigar aficionado) Jeff Greenfield to answer the question. Greenfield has won five Emmy awards for his work, and has scrutinized the world of politics for CNN, CBS and ABC.
While we regularly watch the news, we get more enjoyment out of dramatic television. Our cover star, Jon Voight, is fresh off his third season on one of our favorite programs, "Ray Donovan." Voight, who has won one Academy Award and has been nominated for three others, is one of our greatest actors. He also enjoys cigars—and speaking his mind. The staunch conservative speaks up for causes he believes in, and speaks out against situations he opposes.
Question your sources. Beware of hidden agendas. And seek the truth. The stakes are too high.