07 December 2013

When all the voices sound the same

Needless to say, the American media is a lost cause. Journalism has been replaced by info-porn that is delivered to us in daily doses that are designed to encourage group-think and dumb the population down in order to keep us manageable for those that are in power, elected or corporate. There is nothing else that demonstrates this more than a "newscast" that will show posts from FaceBook or videos from YouTube and claim that this is somehow important information for you to know. The fixation with celebrities is equally repugnant. People who are famous for some insane reason are constantly being talked about while there is actual news that goes unreported.

We are force-fed talking heads that are more interested in promoting their own opinions than they are about actually being objective reporters. This strange and sad cycle began in 1980.

CNN was a novel idea when it first premiered. The idea that news was no longer limited to a 30-minute bloc of time was something new and held potential. Sadly, the powers in charge of CNN and its soon-to-be-launched companion channels soon realized that there was not enough actual news that they could report on because that would mean hiring more reporters and staff, which would cut into their bottom line. This dilemma left us watching the girl who fell down a well in Texas for days. While this might have been a human interest story in the older, traditional sense of news, it became THE news. This showed the people in charge that they actually had the power to dictate what the news would be in ways that they never did before.

The networks had existed prior to CNN and the others with their news organizations operating with a degree of autonomy that protected them from the budgets of the networks because news was considered a public service, and NOT as a money-making venture. This was another major change in the way that news was collected and presented to the American public. The cable news channels decided to present the news in a way that emphasized alleged stories that did not require large staffs and required very little investigative journalism. Then the cable channels began presenting the news itself as though it were a conversation with the viewer. This gave the news a touchy-feely quality that worked to diminish the quality of journalism even further.

The arrival of "hosts" with their own shows truly accelerated the demise of journalism as people who were either discredited in the past, or simply the celebrity flavor of the month were given time to espouse their views rather than simply report on the news. This phenomenon has crossed from the Conservative to the Liberal sides of the political spectrum, but Conservatives have mastered this "infoporn" style and molded it to their advantage. Hence, when a conservative RWNJ host makes an inflammatory statement and are called out on it, they respond with accusations of censorship or infringement on their freedom of speech. When a Liberal makes an inflammatory statement, RWNJ immediately scream in concert for that person to be fired! Sadly, this approach seems to be working. Martin Bashir is the latest example of this type of behavior.

Whenever all the voices that we hear and are forced to rely on for our news that we need to formulate opinions of our own on issues sound the same, Democracy has already died. Something worth remembering.