Editorial: Trustworthy news sources would help

Sep. 30, 2013 @ 11:58 PM

We could use Walter Cronkite today. We need him a lot of other days, but today especially.

It is Oct. 1, and the controversial Affordable Care Act most often called Obamacare is becoming reality. Cronkite was only in the chair as anchorman of the CBS Evening News for 19 years but in that time, and in part because of his work before getting there, he was roundly recognized as the most trusted man in America.

Americans are not sure what to think today. The punch lines from Obamacare’s earliest days to now are a part of our comedic chat between friends. Nancy Pelosi, the former Speaker of the House, has said plenty in her political lifetime, but the most often repeated is a byproduct of this new law.

Over the weekend, the Kaiser Family Foundation released survey results related to the new law. Our country, according to the poll, is divided. It’s also not informed, and its choices for information, in our opinion, beg for the most trusted man in America — whoever that might be these days.

The poll found 51 percent don’t have enough information on Obamacare to understand the impact on themselves and their families. That’s high. Given an open-ended question to ask to achieve clarity, 19 percent asked some version of how much it costs them and how the law is paid.

That was ahead of how it works, or a summary of what the law does. Each of those responses more than doubled the third-highest response of how the nation’s health care system is better.

Given that the responders placed far more trust in cable television news, namely Fox News and CNN, than any other source — broadcast television, newspapers, public radio or the Internet — we’re not surprised. When Cronkite gave us the news, choices to get our information were fewer and objectivity was more prevalent in both broadcast and print media.

The poll found 53 percent simply don’t have a trusted news media source.

Though not the only reason, we believe there’s a correlation in how far apart politicians and their followers now operate and the proliferation of news sources. Finding one among so many, which is worthy of our trust, is difficult.

And on Oct. 1, 2013, that’s the way it is.