Last week, a story broke revealing that Mike Pence used his private AOL email to conduct government business while he was Governor of Indiana.
As would be expected with a story of this nature, it became one of the top stories on cable news for a couple of days. For most Americans, that is where most news stories originate — which is sad considering that the cable news formula consists of seconds of reporting followed by an hour of punditry.
The Pence story, for example, was broken by The Indianapolis Star, a local newspaper in Indiana. The original story contains a level of detail that would make most news editors dance in the streets with joy — and news editors aren’t known for being the dancing type.
The Star’s reporter, Tony Cook, began his quest for truth with an open records request. He then had to read the emails and analyze the information to determine which parts were newsworthy.
The story was picked up by USA Today, the parent company of The Star and that is how you got to see it on CNN. The local guys did the lion’s share of the work, while CNN and Fox got to say, “According to a report by USA Today” or “In a report today,” and read a summary script of the story before handing it over to the pundits for commentary.
I’m not trying to minimize the work done by cable news, but if there are stories you see on cable news that interest you, it is a good idea to Google the story and try to find the source that broke the story. Often it is The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post or a local newspaper. The stories you will read are much more detailed than what you’re going to see on cable, and they won’t be clouded by the opinions of pundits.