Quick Thoughts: The Media

Aug 21, 2012 by

I remember a time when the news was about the details of an event. Today, more and more, the news is reported with the details of an event, and then the added bonus of commentary from the reporter or the anchor. Sometimes they even find a person on the street to get the citizens view. Do we really need commentary with our news? Are these people knowledgeable? Are these people experts? I prefer my news with just the facts. I can decide for myself what it all means.

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  1. Lord Fairfax

    Sadly this is a fact we have come to live with. The glory days of news reporting is long past.

    We can no longer say with Jefferson, “The most effectual engines for [pacifying a nation] are the public papers… [A despotic] government always [keeps] a kind of standing army of newswriters who, without any regard to truth or to what should be like truth, [invent] and put into the papers whatever might serve the ministers. This suffices with the mass of the people who have no means of distinguishing the false from the true paragraphs of a newspaper.” Thomas Jefferson to G. K. van Hogendorp, Oct. 13, 1785.

    We can no longer lament with General Sherman’s position that “If I had my choice I would kill every reporter in the world but I am sure we would be getting reports from hell before breakfast.”

    We can no longer count on the Hearst papers to stear us into a completely unjustified war with Spain.

    We can no longer count on the news to denigrate the service of our young men in Vietnam.

    Lies and manipulation on the public events of the day, are surely not a new phenomenon. What is truly frightening is the realization that there are fewer and fewer news sources. Most news stories are picked up from AP and then simply repeated or expanded upon. What is terrifying is the fact that news is not necessarily that the stories reported are manipulated but the manipulation involved in the stories that are withheld.

  2. Lord Fairfax

    Typo: What is terrifying is not that news stories reported are especially manipulated, so much as the manipulation involved in deciding which stories to run and which to withhold. The prioritization of stories is a far greater concern than the relentless commentary created by the 24 hour news cycle.

  3. Tim

    What bugs me most about the news media (especially TV News) is the lack of any substantive news. It seems like all it is today is commentary. Personally, I hate the commentary. I don’t want other people’s opinions. I just want the news reported and I am quite capable of forming opinions on my own.

  4. Gerber

    I do not quite understand the complaint about AP. You claim that we are limited because most stories are picked up by AP, and then repeated or expanded upon. It seems that this is AP’s job. It is a hub for news reports and stories which are then distributed to participating media. Now, the fact that the corresponding media uses many of these stories does not speak to manipulation, but more towards the importance of the stories. If it was manipulation, then Fox News would use their own stories and NBC news would use AP, or vice versa. And, the key word is MOST. Meaning, when there is a story not picked up by AP, there is a station which does pick it up. Thus, AP, if it wants to maintain its status, has to release the stories and information of importance.

    The addition of commentary recently does not bother me, we used to have it, it disappeared during the World Wars, and is recently coming back. For active citizens, it allows us to hear all opinions and arguments so that we can weigh the arguments in our heads and make informed decisions on facts and arguments.

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