“You Cannot Make Friends with the Rock Stars”

screen-shot-2017-01-04-at-4-13-09-pmIn Almost Famous, Philip Seymour Hoffman as Lester Bangs said something I’ve always loved. “You have to make your reputation as a journalist on being honest and unmerciful”.

I’m going to expand on that. If you want to be a real thinker, you must have unmerciful observations. 

Read the NYT with the same unmerciful eye as you would the rantings of a conspiracy theorist. Listen to Fox News with the same skepticism as you have for NPR–and vice versa. Watch CNN with the same critical eye you put to The Enquirer. Treat a White House press release with suspicion equal to  your three-year-old’s explanation of why the cat is inside the piano. Look not for what is right with the messages you see everyday across social media. Look for what is wrong with them. Listen without mercy.

We think today’s media is so ruthless and unmerciful. But the opposite is true. All you and I are hearing in the media are the voices of those who have made friends with the rock stars. The sooner we observe, rather than adulate, the closer we will get to truth.

This clip is not short (2:25), but it’s a wonderful treatise on the subject of bias. You can check it out here.

Added funny tip: Each time Hoffman says “rock ‘n roll”, substitute it with “politics” in your head.