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Why Faux News Rules

Posted by Rick · June 8th, 2006 · No Comments

My Friend Mr. Marcotte sent me an article this morning via email. The email subject line read, “Oh So Worthy of Posting.” Naturally, I was left with no choice but to interrupt my Bar Review studies — it’s his fault, hon! — and then follow the link, read the article and write this one.

To a certain extent, the Oh So Worthy of Posting (OSWoP) article reflects what a long-missing-friendly newswriter told me via email. (The spot where newswriter used to live might still be hers, but it doesn’t look like it; it looks like it was co-opted by a non-blogger after newswriter vanished. On the other hand, maybe she just gave up, because at least one of the old posts are still “findable.”) And if she wasn’t enough, there were numerous studies that contradicted the old canard. (Here’s one.)

At any rate, the gist of the OSWoP article is that the news doesn’t have a liberal bias. Rather, the constant drumming on that theme by “news” organizations such as Faux News has convinced a lot of people it does, while simultaneously cowing real reporters. The result is watered-down milksoppish “news” — or rather, entertainment masquerading as news — and a rise in the conservative slop substitute.

There’s really not much that’s new about this, except for the willingness of real news reporters to be cowed. After all, have you ever looked at any of the old “broadsides”, “pamphlets” and “gazettes” that were being published around the time of the Revolutionary or Civil Wars in the United States? The big “difference” — to the extent that there is one — is that these modern “not really news” programs appear to dominate cable and the airwaves. True news-reporting appears to be a thing of the past; in reality it’s just very rare and difficult to find. You probably won’t see it on TV, cable, or satellite.

I’m sure this is accentuated by survival instincts and the fact that fewer people today actually read their news. So “broadcast” news dominates. And broadcast news is all about ratings. After all, without ratings, satellite, cable and television stations don’t get advertisers. Without advertisers, they don’t get money. And money, of course, means power, which is what it’s always been about for most people — including both the new- and old-fashioned gazetteers.

Good reporters (one might try to argue) shouldn’t care about these things, but there are ideals and then there is reality. And the reality of TV is that reporters don’t own the media; they work within it. Someone else owns it. This doesn’t just mean that someone else pays their salaries. It means someone else gets to decide what actually gets “published.”

When it comes down to it, though, it’s not reporters who should take the blame for not standing up to the likes of Faux News. It’s us; the viewers and the readers.

Because when it comes down to it, if human beings were smart enough to care about reality instead of rubbernecking over emotionally-based/emotionally-charged “shows” like those presented by Faux News, then reality would, in fact, be different.

In a nation where voter turn-out is 28%, it’s just not fair to blame the news media masters for their desperate moves aimed at getting your attention.

Just as we get the government we deserve, so, too, do we get the “news” we deserve.

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???Special thanks to my friend, Bob Marcotte, for emailing the link that started this to me.

Categories: News Reporting

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