DISPATCH 4 – THE MEDIA

In a previous post I discussed media as a tool…an ineptly-used, badly rendered, castrated tool. The media is at war for its survival in this country and it’s losing. Now some of you out there might think this is a good thing. Well, if that’s what you believe, I demand that you immediately renounce your citizenship and move out of my fucking country. You need the media in a democracy to make informed decisions. We live in a complicated world and if you’d like to see it as simple and cut-and-dry please don’t vote because you’re doing an insult to the democratic responsibility. The world has never been a simple place and one of the biggest reasons that the news exists is to prevent the problems we’ve had because of false or no information in the past. If we valued history as a study of facts and not a test of patriotism, we’d know this already.

Now, about the media itself. If you watch the mainstream news broadcasts these days, you’ve probably noticed that it’s slowly cannibalizing itself. No one wants to admit that they’re doing the wrong thing. They’ve grown comfortable in their attacks and their lax approach to informing the public. I was watching a video a while ago of Al Franken in discussion with Wolf Blitzer and others, debating on why Kerry lost. Let me clear the air. There are three reasons that Kerry lost:

1) The Democratic Party is in shambles. Their stance is pursued without passion or conviction, denying most doubters the confidence they need when voting. The Republicans make it a moral decision and all-but-declare that anyone who doesn’t side with them is a traitor, a heathen, or just plain unamerican, whatever that means. Just remember that although the media plays a roll, they don’t create the news. The void from the Democrats’ side played a roll in the election and that’s not the media’s fault. It was there…and it was too obvious to not be covered.

2) Kerry was a bad candidate. If he had any personality, convictions, or commitment to the American people, it was not visible during the election. Bush is insane and furthermore a traitor to the American people but he obviously have his convictions. They’re detached from reality but they are there.

3) The media is tame, lax and doesn’t foster any faith in the American people. Instead, it’s seen as a elitist organization without values or integrity. And yes, I’m a journalist by profession and I’m saying this. I know damned well that this is how it goes. Newspapers and television are so afraid of being sued, alienating demographics and losing ratings that they talk about this REAL world of ours like it’s some fictional kingdom.

Strangely enough, the most reliable media personalities these days, the greatest muckrakers and defenders of the public trust…are comedians. Watch the “Daily Show” if you don’t believe me. John Stewart is the first man I have ever heard honestly and directly confront the media about it’s complicity by incompetence with this nightmare we’re watching develop. I saw the same ends with Al Franken, and in both cases, CNN’s best and most polished shrugged them off. Crossfire was even cancelled for the embarrassment that Stewart caused and still the message is barely heard.

The media is not everything, but it does have a duty. And if the only people of influence who can see it are comedians, what does this tell you about what it takes to become a recognized journalist? Compromise, compromise, compromise…until you don’t have anything left worth listening to. And then you’re just another television show or tabloid.

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