Monday, October 29, 2012

The Death of Journalism, The Rise of Spin

   News programs and papers have long ago abandoned the tenets of journalism, in favor of rallying the personal point of view of those that run them, and those that fund them. It’s become quite disgusting and really sad that you can no longer just simply get the news. I mean, just an objective report about what’s happening. Instead, you are presented with the seen through the viewpoint of those presenting it. That’s not journalism...that’s spin.

   Let me be crystal clear in the assertion I’m about to make. Newspapers should not be endorsing anyone...except the reader. The same goes for those on television reporting the news...but I’ll get into that later as there is a slight difference from what a newspaper does. In my neck of the woods, the Boston Herald has endorsed Mitt Romney. Across the country, the Salt Lake Tribune has endorsed President Obama. Both men are reeling in the endorsements of newspapers all over the country...and I’m just stunned. Has nobody ever stopped to think about what this all means? It means that every paper that has endorsed a political candidate has invalidated any claim they sought to make of doing objective journalism.

   Why is this important? Well...I remember a time, when I was a child, that I hated to watch the news because I thought it was bland and boring. They were only reporting the facts. I’d look to my mother and ask her what she thought of the reports, and she would give me here take on it. Soon we’d have discussions about what we got from the report (as much as can be had with a seven year old) as I began to form my own opinions. It was a time of being presented with the facts...then you were on your own to determine what they meant to you. Those days are long gone. Media outlets long ago realized the power they had over a now trusting public, got rid of all the real journalists...and started injecting opinions as fact. It’s disgusting.

   I hear cries all the time of the “Liberal Media” and “Conservative Spin” and both sides think the other is pulling one over. They are right, of course. This can easily be seen by watching MSM and FOX...where both clearly slant in opposite directions. It’s like you’re forced to watch both just to get a complete picture of what the heck is going on...but it’s a donut instead since the middle is still missing! To be fair...programs like  the Rachel Maddow Show or the Sean Hannity Show are supposed to be what they’s the whole purpose of their existence. Kudos if you watch these programs and understand it isn’t news you’re watching, but intense and carefully crafted spin. My condolences on the loss of your common sense if this fact escapes you.

   No...I have no beef with those shows. My beef is with MSN “news” and FOX “news” (and all other networks and newspapers that operate the same way) because that slant is how events are being reported. Where has the journalistic integrity gone? Why can’t the anchors and reporters simply sit behind the desk and tell me what’s going on...and keep their opinions to themselves (or worse, the opinions of their bosses). That’s what it really boils down to..."I own this media outlet, and I’m going to push my opinion through it." push me, I push back.

   When was the last time you saw a news program reporting negatively about a company that sponsors them? It doesn’t matter how newsworthy the story is. If Pharmaceutical Company X kills thousands of people with their latest poison, but has a commercial spot during the news...then those deaths aren’t news. Like I said...disgusting.

   I see it all the time...and they have the audacity to slam anyone seeking information from the internet. I think it’s amusing that they try to drill us with mantra’s like “Fair and Balanced” when it’s as obvious as rain being wet, that they aren’t. I’d call it sad, except the really sad part is the millions of people that still buy into all this...that have never known a time, like I recall, when news was boring because it was just the facts, or have forgotten (or missed the great switcheroo) the days of respectable journalism.

   When did journalism die? I’ll tell you when it died. It died the day we became willing receivers of propaganda, instead of seekers of truth. It died when we stopped taking personal responsibility for the information we chose to feed ourselves. It died when we supported those that were spinning us...instead of turning the channel on them, or leaving their “news” rag on the shelf, to show them that our brains won’t be washed...and the spin cycle is over on their machine.

   Now...the only question that matters in all of this is...when will journalism be resurrected?

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