Saturday, July 3, 2004

Where's the NEWS?

There is a practice that has been gaining popularity in the media these days.  The networks spend a great deal of money, I would assume, sending reporters to the four corners of the world to cover the news.  Anything to get that "up close and personal" view of what's happening in the current events hotspots. Or not...

In the "olden days," the reporters were sent out to get the news.  They did the research, tracked down the principles involved, and asked the hard questions. Then they beamed those interviews, and shots of the news as it was happening, into our living rooms. 

Fast forward to the 21st century...  Now, when I turn on the radio or television to see what's going on in the world, I am treated to an anchor person conducting an interview...of the news reporter.  "What can you tell us about what's happening today in Bagdhad, Jack?  How are the people responding to the American forces?  What seems to be the thing that is bothering most Iraqis?  Do they feel as if they're better off now than before the American invasion?"  Um, excuse me...why are we not asking the Iraqi people these questions, and putting their answers on the air? 

The same thing happens with reporters in Washington.  Something large happens, and the network calls in their "political analyst" (a high-falutin' name for a reporter).  "Bob, what was the reaction on Capitol Hill to the passing of the so-and-so bill?  How is the Women's Movement going to deal with today's Supreme Court ruling?  What's the word from seniors on the new Medicare drug package?"  And Bob proceeds to answer all these questions as if he's the trusted authority on any imaginable political topic.  Who the hell is Bob, anyway?  Why are we not hearing from the folks?  Where's the interview with Senator So-and-So, Judge Thing-a-ma-bob, or even Lowly Clerk What's-her-Name?  

I'm sorry, but I don't feel like I'm getting the NEWS anymore. I'm hearing some reporter's view of a story.  I'm not getting the live images, and being allowed to make judgments for myself.  Basically, I'm being given an "ABC"  interpretation of the events.  ("ABC" as in Already Been Chewed...)  I'm sure this practice has been developed because the "powers that be" in media-land think that the majority of viewers want (and need) their news pre-digested.  They think that we're all out here clamoring like baby birds, flapping our wings, shouldering each other aside, and gaping for the networks to regurgitate the "news" for us.  I don't know about you, but I don't like to be puked on, and I'm surely not going to swallow it.

Unfortunately for us all, the news has become "entertainment."  It's the "entertainment" value of any broadcast that attracts the viewers, and therefore the sponsors, and therefore the bucks.  Who ever said news was entertaining?  It's often frightening, and bewildering, and sometimes downright ugly.  But it's the duty of the news media to communicate the news to us in all its disturbing clarity.  And it's our duty, as citizens, to watch it and digest it to the best of our abilities. Then, when it's time to exercise our most valuable of civil rights---our right to VOTE---we will have information that's complete, and real, upon which to base our decisions.  In a perfect world, maybe... 

5 comments:

  1. Point well taken! I feel like I've had an epiphany reading this. You are so right on and I feel like a fop for not realizing it sooner. Where is the news? It is exactly as you describe it now. Interviews with pundits. That's not news. That's editorial.
    Great observation Lisa! :-) ---Robbie

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  2. I agree that the news has become "entertainment."  I also believe, depending on which channel we choose to watch, that we are given a biased view or skew of the news they see fit to air.

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  3. my perception of things, exactly... money is the bottomline.  Kristi

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  4. hestiahomeschoolJuly 4, 2004 at 11:15 PM

    I've been on a news fast for the past two weeks or so, just peeking at what is happening in the world.  Guess what? The world turns without me:::chuckle:::but your comment pinpoints exactly what is wrong with the "News". I feel as though I am fouled after reading/hearing some of the stuff out there.

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  5. I rarely watch the news on television, because all the violence is too upsetting.  I do try to read the papers or check it out online, but I'm not the greatest at doing that. :-/

    I hate to be uninformed.  But I do know that much of what you see on television is seriously biased and not necessarily accurate.  So you are wise to be careful.  Probably the same goes for what you see in print!
    Donna

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