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home : opinions :   May 24, 2016

1/15/2013 9:47:00 AM
Column: 'The media' tainting journalism

Craig Sterrett
News Editor

What has become of journalism?
It is transforming, and not just because of Twitter, Facebook and instant-news websites, in which we participate here at the NewsTribune.
It is mutating into a chaotic mess, and not just because of the Internet.
It is becoming a monstrosity partly because we the people now can order up our information a la carte, allowing us to consume our favorite topics our way while not sampling everything or by avoiding one or two key groups altogether.
But that’s nothing new. Americans and immigrants always have been able to voluntarily or involuntarily tune out or have selective hearing, dating back to the days when many people couldn’t read and the source of solid information was the written word.
Certain owners and powers in the much-maligned “media” are to blame for a huge problem:
While most reporters focus on the fundamentals of finding complete information and talking to sources to get all sides of stories, much of what comports to be journalism simply by its presence on news stations on TV and radio is not news coverage or enlightening at all.
Primetime shows on outlets that were once trusted news sources are one-sided affairs hosted by opinionated stars. I hope people see through this, but if people keep their TVs, or radios, on, they’re pounded each week by one-sided, tainted broadcasts.
Those shows get ratings. On a recent night, on MSNBC’s top-rated show, the unabashedly left-leaning host, Rachael Maddow, was saying it is extremist for people to believe that an armed citizenry prevents government tyranny. She’d have guests on from both sides of the gun control debate, but she’d agree with the one whose opinions matched hers and then bash and argue with the gun-rights advocate.
One channel away, CNN — on which we all, years ago, could rely to be objective and “do the news” quickly — Brit Piers Morgan was on, it seems, Day 12 of the same schtick. He’d have a guest on who’s for gun control and he’d have another guest on who believes if the Army has Howitzers, private citizens should have Howitzers. Then he gets into a confrontational argument with his foe, because Morgan believes nobody but cops, robbers and soldiers should have guns of any kind. Now Morgan is making news, since more than 100,000 people signed a petition for him to be deported. He shouldn’t be deported, but there’s no reason to watch him, unless you really care what he thinks.
I don’t care to know Morgan’s beliefs. Nor do I care to watch Bill O’Reilly on Fox treat gun-control advocates the same way Morgan treats gun-rights advocates.
But these shows are enticing. Once in a while, someone makes a great point. Mostly, they’re kind of hard to turn off. Why else has Rush Limbaugh been so successful for so many years on radio? Of course with Limbaugh, you’ve always known what you’re going to get. But there once was an expectation for balance from CNN, MSNBC, Fox and the big networks.
If you tune in to TV evening news, you can rely on somewhat balanced programming, though conservatives often remind them they have missed an entire story that doesn’t fit the usual dinner menu. It always kills me to see a former White House chief of staff as an anchorman, however.
Good journalists still outnumber yellow journalists. But the celebrities who are in front of the public much of the time are not journalists, but rather commentators, brain-washers, political-movement advocates.
“Crossfire” used to be a popular point-counterpoint-type show. But like Sunday morning shows that strive for balance on national issues, they must not get the ratings of the slanted-argument shows.
I tire of bashing of “the media” because journalists at the NewsTribune are members of that group and strive to provide complete stories.
I also tire of people criticizing “the media” for being left-leaning, but even morning TV happy-talk shows frequently reinforce that. Heck, we had the TV on one day and, after a feel-good piece about what Democrat Joe Biden was doing in his free time, a “Good Morning America” host laughed and uttered, “Aw, everybody loves Joe Biden.” Um, not everybody.
I worry that consumers of news, over time, are becoming less and less conditioned to expect or digest balanced reportage.

Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Article comment by: ronwood61

Those who are always complaining about the "liberal media" have not read your paper. Since all the major TV networks have been purchased by conservative companies (Viacom, GE, Disney) their news departments no longer do investigative reporting (it costs too much) and "fluff" stories dominate the "news".

FOX news is a conservative Republican outlet, MSNBC is the Democratic alternative, and both are loaded with opinion people, just like your paper, with Sheppard Smith being the only true newsman on FOX News. CNN is actual news and has a practice of having people from both sides when showing any "opinions". But even CNN has cut back on their "investigative" reporting because of costs.

Radio media, other than music, has been taken over by the extreme branch of conservatism with only minor exceptions.

I remember the Walter Cronkite years when news was true news and when all news media did investigative reporting to keep business and politicians honest. And I have watched it digress to what we have today, the News Tribune included.

Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Article comment by: METALWORKER

Journalism is the activity or product of journalists or others engaged in the preparation of written, visual or audio material intended for dissemination through public media with reference to factual, ongoing events of public concern. It is intended to inform society about itself and to make public things that would otherwise be private.

So, are you a journalists or comentator?

You have stated, as factual, that Mr Morgan wants all guns removed .

. Is that factual? Is that journalism?
You said that Mr. O’Reilly has said that all guns types of guns are legal under the second amendment. Is that journalism? Is that factual?
I am guilty of what is called channel surfing so I have caught bits and pieces of both of both of these gentlemen and have heard both of them say the opposite of what you say.
Mr. Morgan argues against AR type weapons but agrees that hand guns are fine.
Mr. O'Reilly say's much the same thing.

The argument at this time is not about Howitzers yet, but, may I suggests that if the NRA makes it an argument, there are those who will say to deny that right would be against the second.

This paper and it's reporters, editors, staff writers are any thing but journalist's. Not even close.
This thing you have here is a column and as such should have no byline. It is an opinion piece and does not have to deal in facts.
By its very nature it can be mostly a work of fiction, as it is.
That is what most of the News Trib has degraded too , works of fiction laced with a fact or two, to make it look good.
Editors are reporters and staff writers are editors and we as readers do know which is writing what.
In an article like this, which will impact so many people for a very long time there should be nothing but truth in it, pure fact and no opinion.

An armed guard has never stopped a bank robbery.
A person with a gun facing another person with a gun has a fifty, fifty chance of missing and getting killed themselves.
Sir, this ain't the movies or TV where the good guy always wins.
In this country, the USA, guns are worshiped, venerated
placed higher than GOD.
More people will fire and clean a gun that will go to church on a Sunday.
Soon, very soon it will not be safe to walk outside without body armor.

Write a piece about the best armor to have, oh wait, that might take some reporting skills.

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