Take a journey with me back to the late 70’s when Ted Turner had an idea, thought it was genius and launched it on the world. Can you just imagine him saying, “Dude. Dude! Check it out: what if we created a 24 hour a day news network for this new-fangled cable thing?” Then imagine Jane Fonda hiking up her leg warmers and shrugging, “I don’t know. Is there that much news to report in a day?”
As we know, CNN became a reality and spawned way too many 24/7 news outlets, not only on our TVs but on the internet, on regular radio, satellite radio, social networks and telepathic download.
I like to know what’s going on in the world as much as the next Earth dweller but my problem with the proliferation of non-stop media sources is that it has caused the journalists who report the news to lose their objectivity.
Journalists are traditionally known as The Fourth Estate because they are supposed to be separate from us when they report the goings on in the world. They are supposed to be objective – to report the news without letting their own feelings on any subject be known.
When a journalist does want to share his or her opinion it’s called a ‘commentary’ and they are supposed to disclose the fact that they are injecting their own perspective on a subject. The situation today, though, is that in the wake of non-stop compulsive journalism we’ve lost that imperative objectivity.
Most people now get their news from the news outlet that most closely matches their own political viewpoints. Conservative republicans aren’t checking in with Jon Stewart at the end of the day and few people checking democratic boxes in an election are catching up on current events courtesy of Fox news.
What does this mean for us? Well, for a big obvious starters, it’s clearly driven a big huge wedge between those on the right and those on the left. And just as the middle class is starving into extinction, so are those that ride the middle of the road politically.
This is dangerous for us as a society because we’ve lost a sense of balance with what’s going on in the world. And once journalism ceased to insist on being objective they also went up for sale. Now that large corporations run the shows you watch, the reporters, or, infotainers, as they have to technically be known because they aren’t actually journalists anymore, don’t tell you what’s going on in the world, they tell you what they want you to think.
So my advice is to take your news with a grain of salt. To be forewarned is to be forearmed but we can’t get any armor from our media anymore. We are now, more than ever, responsible for making sure we think for ourselves.