Sharyl Atkinson is a respected investigative journalist who spent many years at CBS. Her experiences at the network as a conservative prompted her to leave a few years back.
She has written a book entitled The Smear. In it she calls “transactional journalism wholly inappropriate.” Atkinson’s definition derives from shady interaction between those in the media and political actors.
Speaking with host Shannon Bream, she explained, “Virtually every image you run across, whether it is in the news or on social media or elsewhere, even on comedy shows is being put there, the players I interviewed in the ‘smear universe’ say, for a purpose by somebody who wants you to think something that may not necessarily be a consensus at all, or may not even be true.”
That begged for further definition. Atkinson added, “Well-funded actors” with “fake accounts” on social media and “a ton of money” use them to manipulate how we think. She suggested that anyone reading the news should “Trust your cognitive dissonance” when the source suggests it is the way everyone thinks.
Atkinson wrote the book to explain what a journalist’s jobs should be. The news reporter is supposed to be the one sorting out the mass of information to enable the public to understand the situation. But she suggests that the news these days is full of “so many serious mistakes, even by formerly well-respected news outlets.”
The experienced investigative reporter finds it imperative for the reader to do their own research to find out what is true. But she relents by adding, “Who has time for this?”