Tag Archives: Fox News

Is Journalism Dead?

When I was young, the TV news was very important. First, there was a half-hour of local news and then a half-hour of national news. The local news had all the news that happened in my viewing area and it left the national news for the networks. Local interest stories, local sports and the weather. I lived in Washington, DC so a lot of what passed for local news was also, to an extent, national news. But the bulk of the real news was handled by the networks and in my house, it was Walter Cronkite.

Walter Cronkite (November 4, 1916 – July 17, 2009) was there when America went to war in Europe. He was a part of the “Writing 69th“, a group of 8 journalists who were allowed to go on bombing missions over Germany. He landed in a glider to cover Operation Market Garden and he reported on the Ardennes Offensive more commonly known as the Battle of the Bulge. He was often called the Most Trusted Man in America and was a solid, solemn voice during troubled times including the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. I was a strong proponent of NASA and the American race to space. To this day, I can remember his barely contained glee as Apollo 11 landed on the moon.  He reported from Viet Nam and he was always there.

Even as a child, I knew that Walter Cronkite was a very special man. He was serious and he was, obviously, important. I vaguely remember my parents making time to watch the CBS Evening News and I remember that Mr. Cronkite held my attention, even at a very young age. And as I look back, I have to wonder what he would think now about the sorry state of journalism in this country.

“Objective journalism and an opinion column are about as similar as the Bible and Playboy magazine.”  ~Walter Cronkite

In Cronkite’s day, there were very few places to get your news. You could watch TV, listen to the radio or buy a newspaper. The TV news cycle was longer than it is today. There was a morning show and an early evening newscast. It gave the networks around eight hours to fill the upcoming news cast so stories were weighed against each other and only the stories that were deemed important enough to report made it to air. Of course that means that some of the “lesser” stories were passed by and left to the newspapers to report. It was a system that worked but that was not without some flaws. There was no way to report everything to everyone and make everybody happy. On the other hand, it also meant that network news time was not taken up with stories of drugged out celebrities who missed a court date.

Fast forward to the 21st Century. Now our news cycles never end. MSNBC, CNN, Fox, CNBC, CSPAN have all filled a void that might not have needed filling. Now, instead of filtering the news based on national impact, anything goes. In order to fill a 24 hour newscast the networks have to add a lot of fluff, celebrity news, talking-head “experts”, analysts and opinion. The problem comes when opinion masquerades as news.

Editorials have always been a part of the news cycle. A certain amount of opinion is necessary to get the pulse of a nation. But the editorial has evolved from a single page in the Sunday paper to iconic commentators who have managed to eclipse the issues they speak on. Rush Limbaugh was one of the first superstar radio talk show hosts. His strong conservative opinions reach millions and he is seen, by many of his listeners, as the final word on all things political. But his opinions are not news, they are not mainstream and, some, are not even based on fact. Remember, he is the one who played the song, “Barack the Magic Negro” on his program.

Fox news is another outlet that masks opinion as news. Never in my lifetime has there been a news network that has worked so successfully to be the propaganda wing of a political party. They show unflinching support of the conservative way of life to the point of attacking the Muppets for their stand on corporate America. Fox Business Channel host, Eric Bolling, said on air, “It’s amazing how far the left will go just to manipulate your kids, to convince them, give the anti-corporate message. Hollywood, the left, the media, they hate the oil industry. They hate corporate America.” The attack on the Muppets may have made prime time but it made little sense. Claiming that Hollywood hates corporate America is a lot like saying General Electric hates corporate America. Only an editorialist with an agenda would conveniently forget that film studios are a part of corporate America. When a movie like Toy Story 3 makes over a $1,000,000,000 worldwide, it should be hard to claim Disney is anti-capitalism. But Bolling did just that and no one called him on it. In spite of the fact that The Muppets (2011) was a Disney release, Fox claimed that “Hollywood” was indoctrinating our children in their left-wing agenda. Disney owns 10 TV stations, a dozen or so networks if you count ESPN as one network instead of 13.  They own movie studios, restaurants, radio stations, merchandising companies and, if my memory serves, they have a couple of  popular theme parks. And yet, somehow, Disney is anti-capitalism. News and opinion collide in a cloud of false outrage.

“Our job is only to hold up the mirror – to tell and show the public what has happened.” ~Walter Cronkite

Newsman Alfred S. Ochs took over the New York Times in 1896. He was facing stiff competition from the sensationalist papers of the time but wanted to build a newspaper based on reporting “the news impartially, without fear or favor, regardless of party, sect, or interests involved.” I have to think that there are still journalists who know that they are not the story, that what they are reporting matters and that their own agendas, thoughts, preconceived notions and opinions are meaningless when telling the facts. But in a world where opinion counts as news, where bloggers are seen as journalists and where journalists want to be stars, I have to worry. Being a journalist should be a sacred trust. It should be an honor to report the news “without fear or favor.” It should be but it isn’t. There are no more Walter Cronkites to look up to. When Jon Stewart can become the most trusted newsman in America for anchoring what he calls a fake news show, it just might be too late.

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The Internet Sucks And It Is Ruining America…Part One

I found this comment on ABC News Dot Com:

We have long been fed the line that teachers and police are underpaid and work incredibly hard for little reward. Yet these are people who could find no other way to make a living and only went into their so-called profession by default. If they weren’t doing what they do, what else would be available to them? Perhaps the Postal Service or garbage collection, but these jobs actually require real labor. As teachers and police they are fantastically overpaid when benefits are figured into their share of the public dole. The propaganda continues to be fed to us by unions that dedication to the welfare of the public drives these individuals in what we laughingly refer to as their “work”, when it is the security, easy money, and lack of qualifications that actually attracts them to jobs where they can enjoy an inflated sense of self-important authority as a side benefit. Their pay could be cut by 80% and there would still be plenty of teachers and police because some people are unqualified for anything else and have a pathological attraction to power, however pathetically limited it may be.
Posted by:
phdinresidence Aug-1

It was in response to an article entitled, Civil Servants find themselves Cast in Unlikely Roles: Fat Cats. Hear that Mom and Dad? I’m a Fat Cat! Never mind the fact that just four days later, ABC News ran a story that listed teachers as one of the lowest paid positions that require a college degree. Never mind the fact that the gist of the story is that the government is offering some cash to keep teachers at work. Never mind the fact that most of the commentators never actually read the article and were, in fact, simply commenting on the comments of others. No…the thing to pay attention to is the tone of the comments.

We have long been fed the line that teachers and police are underpaid and work incredibly hard for little reward. Yet these are people who could find no other way to make a living and only went into their so-called profession by default. If they weren’t doing what they do, what else would be available to them?

Have we sunk so low as to start hating teachers and cops for how much money they make? And, “If they weren’t doing what they do, what else would be available to them?” Are people predestined to become  “Fat Cat” cops or teachers? Are they all failed astronauts or Formula 1 drivers? Or does a person wake up one day and just say, “I am not cut out for the life of a fry cook. I guess I’ll just have to become a teacher.” And who says “Fat Cat” anymore?

It is a brand new class war that is sparked by a brand new movement and fueled by an aging technology. But this time the class war has a bit of a twist. The “Haves” are not looking down at the “Have-Nots” anymore. The “Have-Nots” are looking down at the “Haves”. There is a growing sense in America that the once admirable middle class is somehow the enemy with their hoity-toity savings accounts and their in-your-face retirement plans. Mr. or Ms. phdinresidence seems to think that the only thing lower in life than a teacher or a cop would be a Postal Worker or a “garbage man.” Take that Mr. Postman.

It gets worse folks. The Internet is making us dumb as hell. It is giving a forum to anyone who wants it and many who simply don’t deserve it. The most frightening example of the dumbing down of America is the comment section of any story on Yahoo News. It is easy to surmise that there are people out there who have a Yahoo home page and can merely click on the links. Any advanced web navigation would require WAY too much thought. Seeing is believing…

From Yahoo Comments:

  1. Does level the playing field mean whitie works while blackie collects welfare?
  2. The Tea Party is gonna spank that liberal democratic a$$.
  3. con bush and his republicon party allowed 911 to happen even when they knew these saudis terrorist could not land a plane. 911 happened on the republicons watch and allowed to happen. hence wmd lies, iraq invasion, and trillions of american dollars wasted on republicon lies and misinformation. dump con republicons for a change. [sic][Honestly..I couldn’t make this stuff up]
  4. In other news, Barack Obama shot a course record 66 at Agusta, and Michelle ate two racks of baby back ribs.
  5. how do you not see a big @#$% trian comming at you!!!? or hear it for that matter!! there should be a mass murder of all stupid people in the world!. and show it on pay per view lol[Also sic]
  6. There may be a war abroad but there is one here too…AMERICANS vs liberal americans who just don’t get it! {sic but I actually worry about this kind of stuff…]
  7. And here we see the liberals for what they truly are. Social anarchists without a moral compass. Remember that come November.

Can you match this brilliant comments to their headlines?

  • A – Glen Beck’s Speech
  • B – NJ schools chief fired after Race to the Top Gaffe
  • C – Political Ads Surpass Levels as Attacks Mount
  • D – Ground Zero Mosque Boundaries
  • E – S. African girl Survives Attack and Dies in Crash
  • F – 2 Cars Explode in Mexico Where 72 Bodies Found
  • G – Bikini Clad Strippers Protest Church

I’ll add the answers at the bottom of the page.

The lunacy continues and we all have a front row seat. Everyone who has ever hated anyone now has a way to shout it at the top of their lungs and no one seems to notice that our country isn’t really sliding right or left. It is circling the drain. We are becoming dumber and as we are becoming dumber we are becoming more and more proud of that fact. Blame the Internet. Or Glenn Beck. Or Fox News. Or American Idol, The Real World, Trading Spouses or any silly, pointless “reality show.” Blame whoever you want but just stop it. You’re ruining America.

Next Time: How to post an idiotic comment without looking like an idiot.

Answers: 1-B, 2-C, 3-D, 4-F, 5-E, 6-A, 7-G.


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