Saturday, March 12, 2005

TV “News” has lost all credibility

Both the Bush and the Schwarzenegger administrations have gone into the news business, but unfortunately, neither is sufficiently forthright to lay claim to their productions, and both clearly have no qualms about paying for such bilge with our tax dollars.

In a grand masquerade that could be the basis for case studies of the propagation of propaganda, a fake “reporter” was found among the White House press corps (vetted by the White House), mainstream reporters have signed on as paid political hacks without feeling the need to disclose this to viewers, and whole fake “news” reports have been produced by the Bush and Schwarzenegger administrations for provision to major media outlets, who then ran them as straight news stories, providing not a clue as to their origins.

Clearly, these politicians have so little regard for the intelligence of the populace, and so little regard for their own policy positions, that they feel they must resort to these manipulative and deceitful practices in order to sway public opinion. It is also emblematic of their faith in, and regard for, democracy in general.

But ultimately, it is the television news press (oxymoron?) and their uncritical acceptance of such fake “news” that must take the bulk of the blame for this state of affairs. It is their JOB to strive for objectivity, and to question any “information” provided, even when it’s all polished up and ready for prime time. Even a single story shown to be planted casts suspicion on all the remaining stories, because there is no way for the viewer to discern the real from the plants.

I guess my real question would be: why does anyone at all watch (let alone rely upon) television as a source of news, when time and again it’s been shown to be little more than the lap dog of the moneyed and political powerful? Why does anyone at all continue to trust a medium that has proven time and again to be unworthy of that trust? Or, if no one believes that television news has any credibility, why do they continue to watch? Are the overturned big rigs and burning buildings really that compelling?

[Obviously, print journalism also has its problems, but so far at least, they seem to be not nearly so widespread, and at least some publications readily disclose when breaches have occurred. Still, the depth of deceit going on in television news should be seen as a cautionary tale, proving that those in all media need to increase their vigilance and above all, remember their values and ethical standards.]

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