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Auchter's Art: The scales of modern opinion

John Auchter
Michigan Radio

This is family vacation time for me, so in order to fully appreciate and benefit from the "not working" part of what a vacation is actually supposed to be (a bit of a foreign concept to most of us Americans, I know), I drew this cartoon a week ago. That's always a challenge — picking some topic that can remain relevant (heck, even recognizable) when news cycles continue to accelerate toward warp speed.

I was pleased to come up with an idea that (as the old-timey news people used to say) has legs. Much less pleased that it's so true — that the opinion of a wingnut YouTuber or Facebook "friend" or Twitter troll can so easily outweigh the thoroughly researched and vetted reporting of a professional journalist.

I understand the reflexive tendency. Journalism (or more typically, "the media") falls just below politicians and lawyers on the list of professions we distrust (and apparently on par with scientists and medical experts, God help us). Already, real journalists create uncomfortable situations by asking challenging questions, seeking the true story, and then reporting it. But lump them together with the bloviating talking heads of cable news and smart-aleck opinion writers like editorial cartoonists (the worst), and you get this ongoing rancor that is seemingly always at least a low boil.

Okay, fine. Let's all shake our tiny fists at "the media" and how they all collectively have it in for us. But let's at least try not to give in so quickly to fully embracing any opinion that happens to align with what we want to believe. Let's seek and support real news.

John Auchter is a freelance political cartoonist. His views are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management, or its license holder, the University of Michigan.

Since 1995 John has created Michigan-based editorial cartoons for the Grand Rapids Business Journal, the Grand Rapids Press, and MLive Newspapers. His cartoons are currently featured at MichiganRadio.org and are syndicated to newspapers through the Michigan Press Association. John is an active member of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. You can view an archive of his editorial work and other cartoons at Auchtoon.com.
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