The line’s been blurred—all but completely erased, actually—between news reporting and news commentary. What’s even worse is that the 3-digit IQ-quality of both now seems to be circling the drain of oblivion. But the chief culprit is not the media: electronic or print.
Genuine news reporting should answer the questions pertaining to who, what, when, where, why, and how. News reporters aren’t supposed to get chummy with the personalities on whom they’re reporting. Nor are they entitled to show any partisan bias or prejudice.
They’re supposed to report the facts as they uncover them and let readers—or listeners in the case of TV and radio—arrive at the “truth” as they see it.
News commentary, on the other hand, deals with OPINION. For the print media, this is called OP/ED—code for opinions and editorials. For radio and TV, it’s the same thing, only it’s electronic.
But either way, news commentary is a means by which the nation’s gurus of “reading between the lines” pontificate about what they believe. Partisan bias and prejudice are not only acceptable; they’re expected.
Some of these writers are intelligent, objective, and introspective. But their breed is a dying one that is rapidly being replaced with clever wordsmiths who have virtually no experience in political/social affairs; but they’re experts at conning the stupid.
Stupid is such a strong term, but it’s a perfect seque into identifying the PRIMARY culprit that I mentioned in the first paragraph of this piece. And for the record, I’m not talking about the bulk of thinking, shirtsleeve Americans.
These folks have always been the backbone of this country, and they’re STILL the backbone. But about 15-percent of the U. S. adult population is dumber than dirt.
These idiots need to feel good about themselves, too. And so, the marketing geniuses in the cable news media created the 24-hour cable news cycle so that non-thinking partisans can hear whatever they want to hear whenever they need to hear it.
It’s all based on a simple business model wherein ratings rise to the status of an absolute imperative and truth is reduced to an option. And this doesn’t apply ONLY to Fox News; MSNBC is well-versed in the identical business model.
Of course, CNN divorces itself from the fray by claiming that its forte is bringing us “breaking” news. While I can’t argue against this claim or THEIR business model, my main complaint is that even when there is NO actual breaking news, they bring it to us with the same vigor and windbaggery as if it were real.
But the truth is that nowadays the “news” in the context of the 24-hour cable news cycle—and to a growing extent in the mainstream news cycle—has become all about instigating controversy—often about nothing.
For the print media, the prime directive has become selling those ever-critical few additional papers—even though it’s becoming ever more evident that fewer and fewer people seem predisposed to read them, let alone pay for them.
Corporate conglomerates now own all the news outlets, including the cable news networks. News departments are no longer overhead centers that used to chalk their costs of delivering genuine news up to fulfilling an obligation to keep the public informed.
It’s all about profit now, and what the public gets is pure choice in terms of what people want hear. If you’re a diehard RIGHTIE, there’s a cable channel for that. If you’re a dyed-in-the-wool LEFTIE, there’s a cable channel for that. And if you’re a wobbler about the middle, you’re out of luck!
For the cable electronic media—TV or issue-oriented talk radio—it’s become a matter choosing sides, picking your favorite cheerleader to lead the team, and doing whatever it takes to decimate the other side. For both political partisan extremes, it’s no longer good enough to win a point; someone else must LOSE!
These outlets have reduced genuine news and solid rational commentary to nothing more than media-induced 24 by 7 nonsense-gasms. And they get away with it because a sufficiency of dumb-asses tunes in regularly to listen in raptured attention as their partisan gurus pontificate ad nauseam.
It’s why we’re subjected to a constant stream of brain farts from the likes of Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, Pat Robinson, along with an array of nonsense from the halls of the U. S. Congress—although it’s a relative minority of BOTH Houses and BOTH parties.
But the problem is that these people get the lion’s share of the press even though all of them combined amount to nothing more than a huge dollop of excrement in human form. If we could give the lot of them enemas, we’d be able to bury all of them is the same shoebox.
But program ratings support this garbage; not because of quality, but rather because steamy piles of manure draw far more flies than dumpsters full of the highest quality honey.