My Denver Post never made it to the doorstep this AM. I thought this could be the final death knell for print journalism. I hope it was just a glitch but who knows? There is a new editor and maybe he has gone totally electronic and decided not to tell anyone. I do miss it.
With nothing else to do but ponder, I reflected on all form of journalism. I decided to put my MacAir to good use and do some research. I was sure I would find that there were probably 1000 journalists in the entire country that could affect my everyday feelings on life. There are 645 of such at the Washington Post alone.
Let’s really open the doors. Count in the ranks of journalists not only writers but photographers, broadcast types like O’Reilly,Wolff and Brian, sports commentators etc and you have got one boatload of people affecting how you think. We have five local TV stations here in Denver and dozens of radio stations. Add in local rags and monthly magazines and can journalism be dead? I think not.
But as I thought more and more I got good and bad vibes. I love David Brooks, Tom Friedman and George Will to name a few. I am not a fan of Charles Krauthammer and find both he and Paul Krugman to be on a one track rail line touting their particular brand of gloom and doom. I can take bad news with the good but lighten up boys.
What gets dicey is when it is on the tube. Under the guise of broadcast news you see inflections of voice, a slant of the eyebrows or a soul searching glare when reporting this or that.The press has gone from reporting to punditry. Make whatever commentary you want but please just put the words EDITORIAL underneath your theatrics. The scary part is that for a good number of people this is the only news they get. 30 second sound bites from 6:30 to 7:00 PM.
I am not trying to be a snob. I am a news junky and try to take in all sides. It’s just that not all of you are as sick as I am nor do you have all my spare time. I get it. But to sit back in your comfy chair and tune in the right or left and feel smug that your favorite personality is singing to the choir I find a certain waste of time. What did you really learn? What did they teach?
I read a weekly aptly called The Week. They take a story, give you a synopsis and then the reactions of the press from all sides. Left. Right. In between. They have the best national and international columns highlighted. Yes it is their choice as to how they play it but they truly seem to have their rudder amidships. The point is there are nuggets of knowledge everywhere if you look to the Times, and Journal but also in hard to find spaces.
Life is going to get more interesting with the advent of Al Jazeera America. You all are familiar with the Arab version which seemed to be pretty favorable towards Osama Ben Laden after 9/11. The US version will have a lot of well known TV types as broadcasters. The most intriguing part is that this is the old Current TV that they paid Al Gore and friends $500 million for your viewing pleasure. What a country!
The thing I am trying to digest is what more do they have to offer? We have umpteen zillion channels filling the cable waves. This of course brings up the quality issue with so many outlets. There are good journalists but then again there are some really bad ones too. Can you have that much blank air time twenty four hours a day and not rely on questionable facts and half baked newspeople? Once again I am not trying to be stuck up but where are we going with this?
I read a statement the other day that “Media sets the tone for the nation.” I don’t know about you but that stopped me dead in my tracks. You take an event of any sort. Depending on how it is portrayed it can be run of the mill, sensational, maudlin, vile, happy and heartwarming or destructive in the blink of an eye.
Blacks can be victims or heroes above the fray.Immigrants as pawns or trespassers. Soldiers can be vicious or caring. A gangster portrayed as a celebrity or a ghoul. A politician…well let’s just say there is really only one way. But think about it. It all depends on the slant of the story and you have no control over it. You can start off your day with a spring in your step or feeling like you are in basement B. It all depends what filter you have on. That is a little startling.
Yes I know many of you believe the liberal bias and I don’t disagree with you on many levels. But the boys from Fox counterbalance rather than balance. The fascinating part is that Roger Ailes and crew outweigh the other guys by at least three to one. If that means there are more conservatives than liberals then how did Karl Rove miss the boat so badly in the last election? Just wondering.
Amidst all the furor about Wikileaks and Snowden, the scandals on Wall Street and Main Street as well as analysis of issues that have got to be important to us all we need journalism. It will be taken hostage and subverted like almost every other part of our society. That’s the American way. But to throw your hands up in disgust and refuse to engage in the process as a reader is even worse.
Watch Leno do “Jaywalking” where he quizzes the man or woman on the street about current events. A lot of people in this country don’t have a clue. It’s cute in one sense but so incredibly sad. People make voting decisions based on the cut of someone’s hair or clothes. We know every word to a new song but can’t recognize a decision maker or his or her beliefs. We shrug and say we are too busy. If you are one of these don’t bitch about where our country is. You helped make it that way.
Ted The Great
The press is sometimes referred to as The Fourth Estate. This goes back to the French Revolution. The were three classes: nobility,religious, commoners. The press it would seem oversaw these and were to keep people in check. Their commentary could actually move governments and policy. Ergo freedom of the press.
There are currently 1382 daily newspapers, around 14,000 radio stations and 1774 TV stations. Cable itself depending on the locale can have up to 600 different outlets of a sort.
What country is the Panama Canal in? …..dunno.
What separates your inner ear from your outer ear? …..your brain
What is the Gettysburg Address?…..I am not sure exactly where it is but I have heard of it. That was a college graduate in her cap and gown after commencement
Couldn’t identify pictures of Barbara Bush, Al Gore, the Dalai Lama,Colin Powell or the new pope. That last one who was stumped was a Catholic.
What countries border the US? …..Australia and Hawaii.
The best of all. Which president had the nickname Tricky Dick?…answer Bill Clinton