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Things We Can Do Without: In the News Media

By Alf Gordon(13,356)

Posted Thursday, November 29, 2007
View All Blog Posts submitted by Alf Gordon

In today's modern world, if you can't find out what's going on in the world around you, you're either in a coma or dead.  Newspapers, magazines, radio, television, the Internet--all give us access to the latest goings-on in our universe.  Changes in technology mean we can find out about Britney's latest faux pas or George W.'s most recent political blunder within seconds of its occurrence.  WIth all this information at our fingertips, we need to get rid of some of the archaic, dead-weight trappings that hold us back and prevent us from moving forward in this dynamic industry.

Op/Ed pieces.  For those of you too young to remember newspapers, this was a column where the editor would give his personal opinion on a variety of subjects.  On occasion readers could write in and offer their opinions on the editor's opinion.  Of course, that was in the day when journalists reported only the facts of the story.  In our day and age, every news story that's presented in print, on the air, or over the Internet has a subjective slant to it.  This means the editor's opinion is only one of several million, and therefore is redundant.

Experts.  Not too long ago, if you wanted to know about computers, you found yourself a computer tech.  If you wanted to know about economics, you consulted with a professor of economics.  If you wanted to know about medical issues, you made an appointment with your doctor.  The media has determined that these people no longer know anything about their fields, and are reaching (and I do mean "reaching") for new sources.  A movie star without even a GED can tell the public that well-documented medical conditions do not exist because he doesn't believe they exist, and that makes him an expert.  A socialite who doesn't have the brains of a fetus comments on the plight of animals halfway around the world in a country she knows nothing about, and she's praised as a caring expert on the situation.  A grief-stricken mother whose knowledge of politics is limited to how to spell the word protests the current administration's wartime activities and announces her choice of presidential candidates, and she's on every television screen in the world, with the media applauding her expert choices.  If uninformed people can be considered experts, then expertise in a field is less about actual knowledge than about belief and sincerity (and God knows it's cheaper to ask the opinion of the uninformed).  Every opinion counts.  Well, every opinion that promotes the storyline and makes money, at least.

Fair and balanced reporting.  If this really existed, then each story presented in any media outlet would have an opposing opinion presented at the same time.  The only show I've seen that comes remotely close to this concept is "Hannity and Colmes", and it seems they agree on more and more and disagree on less and less.  What rates as "fair and balanced" these days is more like mudslinging, verbal onslaughts and taunts, and namecalling.  The truth is, there is no such thing.  Journalists insert their opinions and beliefs into the stories they cover, and rarely present the other side of their story--unless, of course, it makes their side look better.

Talk radio.  The term used to mean that listeners got to call into the station and discuss current issues with the host.  These days it means that listeners get to hear hosts chatting with experts (see above) about current events, or goofball radio-celebrity-wannabes acting out on the air under the guise of making commentary on current events.  Listeners are left out of the loop.  This is as much about news as professional wrestling is about sports.  We don't need "reality radio" posing as news offerings.  Take them all off the air.

Once we rid ourselves of these dinosaurs in the media, we can truly move on, knowing we are getting the factual information we need to survive in our world.  Which is good, because I need to buy a house, and my Internet research tells me that mortgages are hard to come by these days...no, wait, this e-mail I got a few minutes ago claims I can get a $500,000 loan and only pay $1,500 a month...but this newspaper article says I can find a really expensive house in certain areas of the country for pennies on the dollar, even with bad credit...except that the headline story on last night's news said that credit requirements are getting more stringent and fewer loans are being approved...crap, now I'm all confused...you know, maybe I'll rent just a little while longer...!

This Blog Post has been read 208 times.
Posted to ProBlogs.com on Thursday, November 29, 2007
View other posts by Alf Gordon

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