Joshua Tree was in the news a lot during December and early January, thanks to the US government shutdown. And if the Congress fails to reach a more permanent agreement by Feb 15, the government will shut down anew — and Joshua Tree may be in the news once again.
Why was Joshua Tree in the news?
I’m an avid outdoorsperson and a huge advocate of Leave No Trace principles. I believe our public lands need to be protected and preserved for future generations.
But I’ve also spent the last few years working in online media, and have built a pretty healthy distrust for blindly accepting ‘reporting’. Here’s why:
- The media always has an agenda — and any given story is framed to advance that agenda. Sometimes this is done intentionally, sometimes it enters the writing unconsciously. But it’s always there.
- Reporters rarely have the time and resources to actually investigate their stories. In most cases, outlets simply parrot what the other sources are saying — resulting in a million versions of the same story, all based on the same dubious source. For example: the above photo of a Joshua Tree that was allegedly chopped down during the government shutdown (widely shared) turned out to be of a tree which had fallen down PRIOR to the shutdown.
So, I’m not saying it’s all “fake news”. But I am saying, you should measure what the news says up against independent observers and expert voices.
I’m no expert, but I was observing Joshua Tree during the shutdown.