Sunday, January 15, 2012

This is News?

I have like 17 weeks of Journalism school under my belt, so clearly I'm the expert here when I ask "This is news?"
But it doesn't take a J-school student, a rocket scientist, or even an individual of sound mind to see that what is being dolled out as news falls far short of the word. 
After reading "news" magazines and watching "news" channels, I'm ready to plug my ears and rock back and forth in attempts to drown out the propaganda and pure editorial-ism that is oozing from these so called "news sources."
Let me give you a couple of examples. Each comes from a well known, reputable source. The first is from Time magazine. Moments ago, I was reading the article about Mitt Romney titled "Revenge of the Aloof," in the most recent issue. It was a portion of this article that was the instigator of this blog post. Since you can't access the entire article unless you're a subscriber, let me quote what was said in the article that caused me grief:
Then he turned the microphone over to the evening's main speaker, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey. This was something I'd never seen before: a candidate working as the warm-up act for one of his endorsers. Christie, who is as comfortable in his bulk as the actor John Goodman used to be (when he was bulky) immediately took control of the stage and the room... 'I believe the American pie is limitless,' said Christie, with the obvious conviction of a man who knows his pies.
Whoa. Wait a minute. What? This is okay to say even in an editorial piece? We, as journalists and human beings are now allowed to totally degrade people based on nothing but outer appearances? I mean, I know folks do that all the time, but I guess I was thinking that was a bad thing and certainly something to be avoided in quality journalism, editorial or not. What place does the above statement have in a news story other than to make the author look like a total jackass? 

The other example is one that I've made several friends watch recently due to the sheer absurdity of it. I hate to bring up Fox News, but, well, it must be done. Before you go calling me a socialist or communist or what-have-you due to my distaste for Fox News, let me just say, I am aware that Fox isn't always the ignorant country-bumpkin of news sources, just as much as CNN's Anderson Cooper isn't the Anti-Christ of news anchors. I know people are loyal to one or the other, but that is beside the point I am attempting to make. (Save to say it goes right along with the polarization of our country that drives me mad.)
The reason I hate watching Fox News isn't because they favor one side over another. The reason I hate watching Fox News is that rather than calmly discussing the world's events, the tones their anchors take are among the most grating, condescending inflections I've ever heard. The do not deliver the news so much as slam those who don't agree with the way they present it, and they certainly don't let those folks get a word in edgewise. While they are certainly not the only unbiased news source out there, they are the most degrading to those who oppose them. Watch one or both clips. I couldn't decide which was worse.
Example 1

Example 2

Again, I want to point out that these sources are not purely horrible or to be avoided at all cost. Nor do I think other news sources are superior and flawless. All I'm saying, really, all I'm asking for is a return to balance, especially in the one place it should stand out: the news.

PS-Stay tuned for a blog post about Eric Bolling's show title "Follow the Money," his words about Christianity, and Christ's words about money. Don't worry. I 'm allowed to write that. This is a personal blog, not high quality journalism.

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