Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The news has been reduced to a Vaudeville carnival

Through the years prior today, I have noticed a trend in journalism. The quality of the material being broadcast has declined sharply.

I know from the point of view of those in the media, I'm only some random schmuck who further dilutes the overall collective of journalism, but I believe I have a point.

Many journalists enter the field with the dreams and desires to have their names listed along with Murrow, Frost, and others. But, through a whole slew of terrible management decisions, these bright aspiring individuals have their light extinguished. Everyone panders to their masters: the heads of the news companies, who have their own insidious plots. They put pressure on the anchors and staff to write stories that fit their agendas, use certain words and phrases to turn public opinion in their favor. On top of all of this, they are also pressured to refrain from attacking their corporate sponsors. They could be sponsored by a company which runs illegal Chinese immigrant sweatshops that kill kittens, and they would sweep all of that under the rug with a song and dance about how great the company is and how the mean old opposition is being unfair and wrong.

Why do we, the consumer, sit back and let the news companies spoon feed us lies and half truths? Why don't we write in mass numbers to them and tel them to give us the news and not the opinions?

Answer: We're stupid and Lazy.

We're too lazy to fact check the claims that are broadcast over the airwaves and we just accept it as truth.

"What? Bill O'Reilly said that I'm a burden on society because I'm black? Well, I may not like it, but it's on the news, it MUST be true!"

That's an exaggeration...well...it's Bill O'Reiley in my example, so maybe it's not. I'd also believe it if some one told me he read my blog and going to smear me on his show tonight. It's people like him (along with a few notable others) who cater to the lowest common denominator.

Bill, here's a request: Instead of yelling at people and talking over them because you don't like their opinions, let them have their say. YOU invited them on your show to tell their side of the story so let them say it, then tell them you respectfully disagree on several grounds and ask them to corroborate their claims and leave the final decision to the viewers. If you treat your viewers like they're capable of making their own choices on controversial ideas, then you're going to be head and shoulders above many talk show hosts both literally and figuratively.

Much of what I see on the local networks is nothing more than drivel, why have 4 broadcasts a day when there's only enough to fill the content of one or two? We all know that the big news will interrupt regular programming.

Mostly local news consists of three things, local flavor, local tragedy, and low level investigation. Low level investigation is the anchor's attempt to find the one story to get them out of the purgatory they call the city station. It usually involves blowing a non-story out of proportion. Local tragedy is always important because it tells us the state of the city, whether a house burnt down and caught the entire block on fire, or someone was kidnapped, it's all valid reporting. Now the last type of news is the type I loath the most; local flavor. They go out and talk to a random person who has done nothing of significance and make them the story, or three anchors pretend to laugh at a video of an animal doing something cute. It's filler and the world knows it. They don't have anything else to say or do and they need to fill the last two or three minutes of air time before the next 5 minute commercial block starts. I would rather watch the traffic reports, at least they affect me.

So why am I throwing a fit over something like this? Because it matters. We're being spoon fed crap and we've been trained to like it. I for one would like to demand a higher level of reporting from the news outlets. Local news: scrap the crap and tell your journalists to find corrupt politicians, engage the citizens in a dialogue about local events and law, talk about the state/federal representatives in thare and hold them accountable for their actions, promote the knowledge of the things that effect EVERYONE.

Even the major news outlets like CNN have had their balls chopped off. I have discovered CNN specifically putting up an inflammatory non-story news report for the sole purpose of getting people to fight about it in the comments section so they can have 3 days worth of "What do you think" articles to talk about. While I will be reasonable and count it as an ATTEMPT to engage the readership, I classify it as a FAILED attempt. I don't want to read an article about one illegal immigrant and have to endure days of them putting the ensuing flame war on the front page and calling THAT news.

My note to the major networks: sometimes, there's just no news. DEAL WITH IT.

Journalists, go after the stories you know you should, bite the hand that feeds you. YOU need to remind us there's more to life than squirrels on surfboards and calling your company's political enemy a dirt bag. Also, please stop using shock value to sell a story, tell us how it is.

To everyone else, tell congress to clean the news up. Eradicate corporate sponsorship of the news, and let the real journalists do their thing. Until then, make your own news because those guys aren't cutting it.

A final note: I want everyone to know I respect the REAL journalists, the brave men and women who put their lives in danger by entering unfriendly countries for the purpose of letting the world know of the atrocities  taking place in those borders. These brave people, along with their support crew help change the world and I thank EACH and EVERY one of you!