Are The American People Witnessing the Death of Journalism?
As a child from the era of the late seventies and early eighties, I vividly recall the manner in which the news was reported with professionalism and integrity. When iconic figures like Walter Cronkite or Dan Rather reported the news, they reported the straight facts, not partisan view points, and left their personal feelings at home. They used their talent to get the job done.
In recent times new seems to resemble a game of bad reality television. I feel that the American people are at the breaking point of tolerating bad journalism. We need honest facts without the shock statements that push the bounds of responsible journalism. I wish I could tell the news writers who put this emotional garbage on the air to state the facts. Though the first amendment of the Constitution gives us the right of free speech, which the new generation of constitutional home scholars so eagerly point to, we are responsible for the ramifications it may cause when nonsensical hatred is broadcast across our countries airwaves. The Gabby Giffords incident is an example. The very day that the Tucson shooting occurred, one could feel the anticipation in the media to report on what caused this crime and the “gut” feeling” that this would become a highly sensitive issue that journalists would have to dance around and not directly point fingers. As soon as someone hinted that it could be the hateful discourse reported by news cycles that triggered Laughner's heinous actions, the pundits from all corners joined in the blame game . The point is that if all the hateful discourse on our television, radio and news press didn't have anything to do with Gerald Laughner and the actions he took, then WHY is that “gut feeling" in our stomach? Most people have heard the saying, “Go with your gut”. If “gut feelings” are usually right, what would make the Gabby Giffords case any different? Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying this is any one persons fault. However, I do fault the media and members of political offices for speaking such divisive commentary on a daily basis for the past six years. Yes, you read that right ...six years. I hold both political parties liable for the discourse in this great nation of ours and particularly the news corespondents. They air the news. By the way, I'm not sure this crap even qualifies as news. The discourse may or may not have been what pushed Gerald Laughner over the edge, but what is relevant is the fact that in this country everyone has the right to watch the news, listen to news or read about the news. It should be the journalists responsibility not to cross common sense lines of public discourse that by doing so, unstable viewers, listeners, or readers act out the bigotry, threats or unreasonable suggestions made.
There are other big differences I've noticed over the past fifteen years . When news channels, especially the 24 hr news channels that claim to be fair and balanced, there seems to be a steady stream of vitriol that may be a trigger for misguided or delusional action. Many news are really one-sided half truths from a specific political ideology that can set up desperate behaviors yet still claiming to be “fair and balanced”. Many rely on the tactics of selective editing or fragmented clips that are out of context. Some edit speeches made by political speakers that make them appear to be incompetent and as destructive as possible. This is what I mean by the news corporations being responsible. they are in charge of doing this type of editing and airing of this hatred and political strife. Perhaps that's the most offensive part of this! It seems we now have news groups that purposely run programs that can create tension, paranoia and dis-function in our government and include some specific senator or representative on air first just for shock value. The differences don't end with partisan half truths or selective editing. There is also the tactic of word selection. This occurs most often when anchors have a special guest or contributor to give, once again, a slanted view that reflects the ideas of a particular interest group. Often these commentaries are loaded with specific emotionally loaded words, of course avoiding any words frowned upon by their writers, and are instrumental in ratcheting up the discourse against any opponent. As of late, one example of this might be words like “by-partisanship” or “compromise”. God forbid that we live in a time that two parties of a world leading nation no longer can serve our country by compromise!. Some groups go so far as to publicly question our president's legitimacy to hold office by asking to see his birth certificate. If that isn't enough, they then follow up with a request of his college transcript.
What does it take to satisfy these people? I often hear some news anchors ask, “Well how about starting by not even covering the birther movement. Perhaps giving them a platform to be heard from is a stretch too far. All too often I hear party leaders state that these groups represent a small percentage of the base. I think a better question for us as citizens might be, “ What do certain news groups have to gain by pandering to extreme viewpoints like birth-er-ism” ? .I don't know what the answer may be to many of the issues in this article. It just seems wrong to me. It seems that there is an evolution in the media from factual to fictional reporting and no one is talking about it. In modern times it often seems that news channels are conspiring with political movements and covering issues from a view point that some groups hold . As I stated earlier, it is as if they're trying to compete with reality T.V. What ever it is, we should keep in mind that reality T.V is ANYTHING but REALITY!!!