Sunday, August 8, 2010


It struck me once again last night trying to get some news, especially international news, after I returned home to Jersey from a week in the Berkshires that despite the proliferation of cable channels television has become more and more devoid of actual news.

There are plenty of talking heads around discussing various "top stories" which usually consists of either topics generated and manipulated by one "special interest" or another—usually rightwing Republicans—but actual news stories with footage and on-the-scene reporting seems to have become more rare rather than more common.

There are outlets on the Internet, I know, but even there much of it seems to me when I google a pertinent story, are also skewed. Not that there was ever anything as total objectivity in reporting before, but at least it seemed to be the goal, what "journalists" in the now seemingly old-fashioned sense of that term, were aiming for.

CNN is the biggest disappointment in this category. I know the old CNN Headline News could become repetitive, but there was a certain comfort, at least for me, to be able to tune into it at anytime of the day and find out what was going on in the world that seemed important at the moment.

Not (I mean "now" of course, but I thought I'd leave that typo in as an example of what my post-brain-surgery mind is still doing when it comes to typos, that's obviously not a case of missing the key for the one next to it, but in fact my fingers typing a totally different word for their own reasons and not the one my brain dictated to them! or I guess I mean not the one I was consciously thinking of, I still make many more corrections than pre-op) that channel is devoted to the latest shows that cover—with the usual talking heads, because it is cheaper and easier to produce—scandals and sensational crimes etc.

It's like the technology, at least for TV, is going backwards. And again, even on the web unbiased coverage is not as easy to find as it once was. And yes I follow the BBC and other news organizations and channels on the web that cover international news more widely and seemingly objectively so I know it's there, but even there, a lot of stories never show up or are never covered in depth and on the scene but left to commentators and "experts" rather than just delivering the story as it unfolds and letting us draw our own conclusions.


Anonymous said...

the presentation of The News all changed soon after the Viet Nam/American war and it's un-adulterated images of THAT .... event.

now not only is EVERYTHING
censored and dumbed-down and blant lies via "spin doctors" are the norm to make of the media a harbinger of FEAR which is about all, these daze,
that is driving the economy!

how is it that there are NO pictures of what is going on in New Orleans re: rebuilding after Katrina? No pictures of our rebuilding of Iraq (remember Iraq? that's the one that flushed our culture/economy down the drain..

these talking heads doing the news can barely read the script on the teleprompter!


the "news" and 99.44/100%
of what is on the tellie is just filling up the space/time between commercials!

Butch in Waukegan said...

There never was a just-the-facts-ma’am-nothing-but-the-facts-ma’am information source. To believe there was, or that some progressive Medici will fund a TV network to present the “news”, is naive.

But information is there for those who want it: the internet.*

Create your own front page. Get a newsreader and add feeds from sources you trust or provide variety or are just interesting.

Here a few articles I read over the weekend:

Obama Launches New Program to Help Corporations "Take Advantage of Low Labor Costs" Abroad (left wing)
Underemployment 28.4% for Ages 18 to 29, 18.4% in all Age Groups - Gallup Poll (conservtive/antiwar — I agree with his diagnosis, prescriptions suck)
U.S. puts down roots in Iraq (Hindu Times, via Google News)
Limousine Liberals (left wing Twitter feed)

Can you think of the reasons why these stories might not be covered by the MSM?

Americans are expected (and expect) to sit quietly on the couch and be spoon fed facts. Critical thinking and contrary views are not valued, in fact they are ridiculed. Review the run-up to the Iraq invasion for evidence. Fortunately there is an alternative.

* Until the bipartisan effort to gut net neutrality succeeds.

Lally said...

A little insulting there Butch. I'm talking about news reporting on cable TV. I mention the internet in passing because that's the standard answer these days to the reality that there is less news on cable TV than there was only a decade ago, real reporting that is. And as for bias, that has always existed, of course. I have been a victim of it many times beginning in the 1960s so I'm not naive. But, BUT, my point, perhaps poorly made, is that given all the cable channels I have access to (hundreds) I could not find any just reporting the news last night when I went looking. And that seems absurd to me. And even the internet's choices aren't that great when it comes to actual on-the-scene reporting rather than cellphone shots or commentators or nonprofessionals offering "eyewitness" accounts which we know from numerous studies are almost always not just inaccurate but often close to fictitious. (I once took part in an experiment where students in a classroom I address were asked to describe me later, the next day if I remember correctly, and the descriptions for the most part had nothing to do with what I was wearing or how tall I am or even the points I tried to made, and once a film I wrote about an inter-racial romance in the segregated South, mine, was turned down by the top studio professional because it was about a "black couple"!?!)

JIm said...

I like the change. I started to become politically aware in the 60's. TV was Walter and liberal media like the NYT, weekly magazines, LATimes, and the Washington Post dominated. My political metamorphasis from the NYT viewpoint began with the WSTJr. The news stories are relatively balanced, somewhat left but the editorial page was and is right. I suspect the reason much of the print media is in such dire straights, like Newsweek, is because they have demonstrated little objectivity. With only 20% of the population liberal, it leaves a diminished audience for liberalism. Butch has it right. If one is interested, there are plenty of choices from the left and the right on the internet. One who is genuinely interested, will check sources from both persuasions and make up their own mind.

Butch in Waukegan said...

Apologies. Reading it again I can see how what I wrote could be taken as an insult.

Several times in the past you've written about your wish that some rich fellow would fund a better news network, and I guess I was reacting to that more than anything else.

Give up on cable news. The corporate / government alliance is roaring full speed ahead towards consolidation. The FCC, under Democrats or Republicans, is in place to implement big media's agenda. The merger of Comcast and NBC is a good example of what's in store for TV.

The internet is next. A friend (an Obamaiac) sent me this. If you think US media is bad now . . .

Anonymous said...

speaking of The News AND fredom/truth of the press
since y'all REALLY are 'tuned into' where The Real News IS:

tell me

the oil rig blew up ABOUT # MONTHS AGO 100% destroyed it took (most likely over 4 years to build it...meanwhile "they" removed ALL of the debris AND
in ONLY 3 MONTHS ...

now , where and how did "they" do the salvage and removal of the scrap? HOW COME no film or photo documentation? NOR any film via our free-press-news media!

well (no pun intended) yo do get my point, eh?

no matter who is "driving this bus" same CRAP...

we got the illusion of freedom here... and just maybe our Politics and Religions just cover up the fact that "they" are not the 'enemy'/'evil empire'

now that we have destroyed Iraq

we are "pulling out" in about 3 weeks..


where are the films an 6 p.m. showing all of the
gazillions of dollars of equipment that is being moved back to Detroit!

and where are there any films/eyewitness reports about how "we" have rebuilt Iraq's infra-structure?

where the hell are our LEADERS and

the ones that we have ought to fucking WAKE UP!

Anonymous said...

right-left right' left-right left' marching on and on.
evidently jim is to young to remember firing line, where opinion was shrouded in intelligent discussion.
the 4th estate in this country is surely failing in it's role to provide information that citizens can use to form their own opinions on public matters, but it seems that it is also true that when ever a venue presents opinions based on actual reality they are ignored by listeners and viewers.

JIm said...

Anoymous, I suspect your reality no matter how actual it would seem to you would differ from mine. In America that is fine because we have the 1st Amendment. What-a-country!!

Anonymous said...

no two snowflakes are alike