In the early 1990s, my father had an outlook-altering experience. A life-long South Florida accountant for individuals and small businesses, he had no involvement in politics and harbored a basic patriotic trust for American institutions, including its media -- the type of uncritical faith we're taught to have and easily adopt if we're not paying close attention. But then one of his accounting clients, a manager of a Native American casino, ended up in a public business dispute with the tribe that owned it, and the local media extensively covered the dispute.
Because he had much first-hand knowledge of the controversy, he was able to see how many misleading claims and outright factual falsehoods were regularly stated as fact by the media covering that story. And he was both shocked and outraged by it. For the first time, he viscerally understood how easily and often false claims are circulated by respectable media outlets -- whether due to laziness or gullibility or manipulation or malice or the difficulty of understanding complex events. And that personal realization made him much more skeptical in general about what media outlets told him and much more critical in how he assessed and processed it.