Red, White, and News

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It was decided this month that I be dragged from the dark depths of photography to the whimsical (kidding) land of writing to answer a question: “Why do I think news, including local news, and of course including Moonshine Ink, is important?” The word “news” has been fighting an uphill battle for close to four years now. Through ink, sweat, and tears, it has been dragged through hell and back. It has been called fake. It has been called … Well … It has been called fake a lot.

Just bringing up the word has acquaintances, friends, and dare I say the F word (family), roll their eyes. We are tired of news. It is exhausting. This year, we’ve had a news overload. The world is on fire, things called murder hornets exist, COVID-19 is hanging small business out to dry, and our brothers and sisters are in the streets, fighting for their freedom. We are tired. This shit is tiring.

It’s possible to hear five different things from five different sources in five minutes. It’s the right vs. the left. The real vs. the fake. Lines are being drawn. Facebook arguments are at a record high. Is it time to sleep yet? Is blissful ignorance the answer? Personally, every time I try to distance myself from news, I find myself crawling back with one eye shut and the other half-squinted, waiting for the monster to jump out from behind his desk.

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So why, with all the scary, confusing, frustrating, and infuriating stuff going on, do I think news is important? Because we have to have it, simple as that. Can you imagine all the sketchy and weird things that businesses, elected leaders, and litterbugs would get away with if news did not exist? Well, they still get away with lots of things, such as ignoring science when it comes to the expansion of Squaw, abandoning office after promising change to chase love to SoCal, and completely trashing our beaches, but hey, at least we know about it and can make a fuss.

Do you really want to get your information from censored press releases? Do you want to make your voting decisions based on campaign ads? Would you buy a new car without doing any research? NEWS IS IMPORTANT, DAMN IT, but you know what is more important? Factual, fact-checked, news. Social media, where a lot of us try to make points by using memes, is typically full of half-truths and falsities. You don’t know where these statements are coming from, and neither do I. Isn’t it better to have a trusted face behind the information you take in? Journalists are not out to trick you. Russia is.

Is your head spinning? Mine is. When I pick up a paper, or browse an online article, I usually skip over the fluffy stuff and dig straight into the dirt. I’m a masochist. I want to know what our leaders are doing. I want to know which new laws pertain to me. I want to know the stories behind the builders looking to change the face of our community. I want to know why rent throughout our region has increased four times in 10 years. I’m not saying the fluffy stuff is bad. The light-hearted stuff is necessary. We all need balance, right? We all need the yin to the yang.

News wasn’t always important to me. During my first tour in Tahoe, 2010 through 2013, I partied, chilled, and snowboarded. I didn’t have the internet. I didn’t know we had a paper named Moonshine Ink. The world seemed simpler. I was under my parents’ insurance. I was paying rent and buying toys while earning $10 an hour. I rode my bike to work, and I drank PBR.

Now that I’m older and wiser, I drink craft beer and I listen to NPR. I want to know what’s happening in my rapidly changing community. I want to know who is leading my town, for better or for worse. I want to see the faces behind the masks, and I want to know who is actually making decisions to help our community sustain itself organically, rather than pushing a reliance on once-a year-visitors to fuel our economy.

Some believe that ignorance is bliss. Perhaps there are some things over which we have no control. It is your decision whether you want to believe journalists or not. For me, I choose to be informed and formulate my views and opinions based off of multiple sources that are regarded for their accurate reporting. From the BBC to Moonshine Ink, news gives us a window to the madness.

~ Wade Snider/Moonshine Ink


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