The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #51254   Message #780464
Posted By: Amos
10-Sep-02 - 11:27 AM
Thread Name: 911 Anniversary: Tearing Off the Scabs?
Subject: RE: 911 Anniversary: Tearing Off the Scabs?

Journalism was once thought of as a separate estate which played by a modified set of rules; the deal was, they would serve as the witness and sometimes the conscience of the country, reporting on things high and low with intelligence and integrity. When journalists sank to merely electrifying, slandering, spinning gossip or jerking emotions for the sake of emotion, they were called muck-rakers and yellow journalists. They were considered, in that time, the whores of the journalistic community, in the most derogatory sense of the word.

Now they are promoted to anchormen and women. The difference is that incredibly large amounts of bandwidth make up the vacuum that newsies have to fill each day. Where once a single front page was called for, we now have stations running 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, needing copy (or its video equivalent) to fill it. And it has to be copy that will attract viewers to attract sponsors in turn.

Rather than fill this bandwidth with a far richer array of stories, things that never would fit in a day's paper, they instead take the cheaper route of re-pumping and re-grinding the stories they already have -- it's cheaper!

This is one piece of several which in combination have produced a really awful self-reinforcing negative spiral. Broadcast crap, sell it to sponsors, sponsors see it works, it makes people stupid enough to accept it, broadcast more crap and repeat.

I doubt, for example, that a third of the intelligent analyses relating to the Mideast that have been written on the Cat would ever show up on broadcast television. Too analytical, doncha know.

Even in the first big expansion of television through the 50's and 60's, at least what people stared at at night had a few sparks of redeeming intelligence in it. Edward Murrow comes to mind. And Cronkite at least acted thoughtful.

We have a TV that has served for literally 18 years now, and we use it less than fifteen times a year. That's per YEAR, not per week. Why plug in to wholesale thoughtlessness? I can grow my own just fine! :>)