Sunday, September 20, 2009

The sorry state of journalism

First a disclaimer. Yes, I have a diploma in journalism, but no, I have not been published or worked for any news organization. So I cannot attest to the true workings of a newsroom. This, therefore, is an opinion piece. This a rant at what I see on the screen, not an attack on what may or may not be going on behind the screen. There, that should cover my ass. I have admitted that I am ignorant, and because of that ignorance I hope I am permitted some bias. Here goes:

Watch this: (hat tip C&L)

So there, the Obama Administration snubs Fox News (and I am using the term "News" here in the loosest way possible). My gut tells me, fair enough, fuck 'em, they have made a mockery of responsible journalism for years. One of the first things you are taught as a journalist is to report the facts (the who, what, when, where and how), remain unbiased, allow all sides to express their opinion, never, ever pick sides. Fox News, regardless of their catchphrase 'fair and balanced', is the most blatantly biased 'news' organization of the lot. They take pride in that. Hell it is their bread and butter. They pander to the right, they for the most part set the right's agenda. They are less a news organization and more an open mic for the conservative movement. Bless 'em. What was Obama to do? Ignore the raving madmen like Hannity, O'Reilly and Beck? Cuddle up to that swine Chris Wallace because he plays a news anchor on TV? Perhaps. He is after all the President, why not be the better man? Show up, state your case, smile, nod, shake Chrissy-poos hand, and be done with them. Why add to their fodder? They have proclaimed their dislike for Obama. They express that dislike 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. But wait, would appearing on Fox News legitimize a truly illegitimate 'news' organization? Maybe, but they do yell loud, they are being listened to, why not try and at least get your message out to the propagandized hordes?

Is it all Fox's fault? NO. The mainstream media (and I am sorry, Fox, regardless of viewership is not a mainstream news organization), is nearly as polarized and lazy as Fox. Fox doesn't play by the accepted rules, they are therefore fringe. But are any of the big American news providers playing by the rules? Have the rules changed? Is it impossible not to pick sides? CNN for example, can we forgive them for allowing Lou Dobbs to spit hate? MSNBC: is there journalistic integrity in allowing the leftist views of Olbermann and Maddow to dominate the airwaves? Are the rules different now on the network and cable news providers? Is televised news all opinion, facts be damned? Has the slow death of the newspaper industry changed everything? Is the journalist slowly becoming obsolete? Has the game changed- do talking heads and supposed 'experts' matter more than the writer, the journalist, the gatherer of facts? Is true journalism dead? Is the gig up? Is opinion all that matters? Will it forever be us versus them?

So there. All this is only my opinion, does that then make it a journalistic piece? NO. It makes it one man's views and concerns about the state of shared information. Maybe journalism can not separate itself from bias. Maybe we have to view news, not as Fox vs MSNBC vs CNN vs ABC vs The New York Times, but as the collection of views from every perspective. Maybe we should channel surf. Brand loyalty be damned.


  1. Asking for unbiased media is like asking for the Middle East to please stop fighting. I don't hold out much hope...then again, there's always The Naked News!

    You hit one over the Green Monster my friend, home run.

    Awaiting Mister Byron...

  2. Thanks David. Just thought I should hold the folks whom spew the vomit masked as journalism accountable. Someone has gotta.

  3. Ban advertising for news broadcasts and maybe, just maybe we will once again receive honest unbiased reporting. As long as the almighty dollar is in the mix then it will dictate the outcome. Ergo news is not "news" it is entertainment, plain and simple.

    God Bless the BBC and God save the CBC before it is too late.


  4. Hear Hear! God save the CBC before it's too late! (I think it's already too more Hockey Night in Canada Theme, the cheap bastards!)

  5. Newsertainment arrived with CNN and the 24 hour news cycles. Yes we live in a world of endless and rapid information...but very little of that information is truly news worthy. The networks need content, there just isn't chaos 24/7, hence the birth of the 'expert' the 'talking head' 23 hours of opinion intermingled with an hour of hard news.

    As for the CBC, well the life or death of that Canadian institution is really in the hands of the electorate. They can choose to haphazardly support the Tories and their quest to suck all is special about Canada and rapidly become USA-light. Or we the electorate can kick out the swine, the haters, the backwards thinkers, preserve what is special about Canada and then work towards making it an even better place in the future. Am I convinced the CBC will survive, maybe, but you can only lose so much blood.

  6. I remember back in 7th grade seeing BBC news on cable at a friends house. The next day I was in class telling my teacher about this "crazy" new news show that "exaggerates all the news" and makes the world seem so WILD...eventually someone informed me or I realized the reality of the situation: the American main-stream media had almost broken me as a little kid. Real-life brain washing type shit. I watched the news with much wider eyes from then out. Nice to have you back, Joseph!