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I woke up and was a media basher

Back when I was a reporter, my friend Kathy used to bash the media and it would really tick me off. She talked about media bias. And a lack of depth. And agendas. She complained that political coverage was always about the horse race and never about the issues. I’d roll my eyes.

I always hated media bashers. I thought they were simplistic and quick to blame. As Kathy kept pounding away at coverage, I told her to cancel her subscription to the newspaper if she didn’t like things and thought to myself, “She just doesn’t get it.”

Well, now I get it. I wrote my last news story for U.S. News and World Report five years ago, and I have detoxed and cleansed. I realize that it was me who just didn’t get it. This week has been especially ridiculous.

The media scared the hell out of us with the economic crisis. It went something like this:

“$700 billion. Wall Street. Collapse. $700 billion. Wall Street. Collapse. $700 billion. Wall Street. Collapse. $700 billion. Wall Street. Collapse. $700 billion. Wall Street. Collapse. $700 billion. Wall Street. Collapse. $700 billion. Wall Street. Collapse. $700 billion. Wall Street. Collapse. $700 billion. Wall Street. Collapse.”

So, the bailout failed.

We kept hearing the same chorus of “$700 billion. Wall Street. Collapse.” Scared everybody. The world is ending.

But, relief! A subject change. Thank goodness for a bright, new day. But…

“Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin.”

These are serious times and we are being fed redundancy and pap. Let’s talk about which politician is scoring points in the debate instead of the debate! And I am sick to death of hearing Palin’s name. Whether she scores in the debate tonight — or not — I need a time-out from her and all that superficial nothingness I am getting. It does occur to me — a lot — that this is a turning point in our history that will shape the way we live for the rest of our lives. And what do we get from the media?

I wonder: Whatever happened to content?

And then I think about Kathy and I wonder if it ever really existed.

1 Comment
  1. Good article (linked) from Mark Crispin Miller. It was written in 2002 and the situation has worsened since then, obviously.

    Jesse A. over at TVNewsLies posted this in 2004:

    Think about this, in NY alone we have over a dozen “news” entities on TV; CNN, CNNFN, NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, FOX News, FOX 5, CBS, ABC, NBC, WB, CBN, etc. Now take notice that they all report:

    1. The same lead headline
    2. The same “news” stories
    3. In the same order
    4. From the same sources
    5. For the same amount of time
    6. With the same slant/bias
    7. With the same timing on the commercial breaks

    Where is the diversity?

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