Last week, amid the media buzz about the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act, CNN and FOX News managed to botch coverage of what may have been one of this year’s most explosive news stories.
As the Court issued its ruling, CNN and FOX News initially told thousands of viewers, reportedly including President Barack Obama, that the healthcare initiative had been struck down as unConstitutional. For a few minutes, the Twitterverse was alight with jubilee from conservatives throughout the country.
Then, the real story emerged. If you’re reading this, you likely already know what transpired.
The failure of the two aforementioned news networks to report the story correctly the first time perhaps offers a valuable lesson in the constantly growing importance of new media and citizen journalism in the United States.
Anyone who was depending on CNN for coverage of the Supreme Court decision spent about seven minutes believing that the healthcare reform law had been struck down. FOX News viewers were given the wrong information for only about two minutes.
But those people who have decided not to accept the mass media’s version of events as news breaks likely had the right information all along. Thanks to the power of the Internet, about 1 million people who were viewing live updates about the ruling via SCOTUS Blog had the correct information even before FOX News and CNN issued their erroneous reports.
That is indicative of how new media has given every individual the power to be his own best news source. But if you have yet to turn away from mainstream news channels to find your own version of current events, becoming your own news source can be a daunting task.
Here are some good places to start:
C-SPAN: On C-SPAN’s website you can watch live Congressional testimonies and votes. You also have access to hundreds of hours’ worth of archived video of happenings on Capitol Hill.
SCOTUS Blog: For matters regarding the Supreme Court, SCOTUS Blog offers minute-by-minute coverage and access to court documents.
Government websites (whitehouse.gov, justice.gov, defense.gov, etc.) are excellent places to read statements and remarks from government officials and press releases explaining government actions. Also, the official websites of U.S. lawmakers contain informative press releases.