Just a quick post as I assemble information for Part II of my Iraq update.
Hasn’t this been a big week for news? Government formation finally gains pace in Iraq, violence threatens along Sudan’s North-South faultline, Charlie Rangel finally receives punishment (disgracefully light though it is) for his ethics violations, Ireland teeters on the brink of serious fiscal crisis…. Take your pick there’s been a lot for the Media to cover.
Sadly, the major media outlets in the US would rather talk about the latest celebrity wedding. For make no mistake, that is what those inbred monkeys, the Windsor Family, are. As I right this the main story on CNN.com is “The Brits Come Ashore”, a few hundred words of nonsense in which the writer never stops to think that maybe the media has a hand to plan in constructing such ‘obsession’ with things like Royal Weddings.
The contrast with foreign outlets is, as typically, saddening. Just clicking the International Edition button on CNN’s website takes you to a front page teeming with real stories, both those listed above and others. The BBC website, which one might assume would be more Royals focused, has the story nowhere to be seen. Even if you filter for UK specific stories it’s not among the top listed. Al Jazeera, sadly not readily available to most U.S. viewers, is respectable and serious as always.
Yes MSNBC and Fox’s websites are a little more respectable on this count than CNN’s. That is also revealing. CNN has long criticized its competitors, saying the reason why its own ratings have struggled is because it’s stuck in a polarized idea space where moderation isnt attractive. That is nonsense. CNN USA’s problem is that it treats its viewers like children, spoon feeding them bs and avoiding real news at all costs. It is not a serious option for moderates and pragmatists because it isn’t serious. By contrast CNN international prospers in large part because it treats its audience around the world as serious adults seeking serious news. CNN is as complicit in the dumbing down of media culture as Fox or MSNBC. it may not feed the public ideologically laden ranting (most of the time at least) but it does steadfastly refuse to inform and educate its viewers. it cannot then turn around and complain when the public doesn’t have enough information to see through partisan BS from either side.
This is the mainstream media we have now in the United States. A media that sensationalizes rather than reports, and would rather talk about the meaningless details of the lives of celebrities than engage the public on important issues. Remember that the main networks almost instantly dropped the Iranian protest story last year on Michael Jackson’s death, reveling in the opportunity to use wall-to-wall coverage of that to hide the fact they had no idea how to do their jobs on issues that actually matter.
Constitutions the world over protect the freedom of the media. But they do so because their framers envisaged the media as serving a positive role in society, of unveiling the truth and improving the quality of public discussion. The Mainstream Media doesn’t do that anymore. Instead it hides behind freedom of the press to stalk b-list movie stars and mindlessly equivocate, rather than report or inform. Perhaps we should reconsider whether the MSM is still worth protecting.