Saturday, December 19, 2015

Journalism

When is a journalist a journalist?
Listening to the radio last night, I heard a performer refer to herself as a journalist.
It made me cringe.
Most of the news readers and show people who clutter the networks are nothing more than pretty faces employed by mega-corporations to jack up ratings by reading prepared texts in as menacing and frightening voices as possible.
Often, I wonder if they actually believe the nonsense their masters put in front of them.
To be sure, they play it well.
They proclaim "Breaking news!" with such gusto we might actually fall into the trap of believing the hype.
And that's what's wrong.
It's hyperbole, melodrama, controlled fearmongering.
Purposeful phony hysteria.
Polls, polls, polls.
Manufactured controversy.
Negativity above all.
I used to defend news readers.
It seemed impossible to me that they would be overpaid shills for their corporate masters.
But my eyes are wide open now.
While the Martha Raditzes, Richard Engelses and a few others who seriously research their topics and report from that research are clearly the exceptions, the so-called "journalists" like John Dickerson, Wolf Blitzer and Chuck Todd are mere celebrities, readers of scripts.
It's all about ratings.
It's all about viewer share.
It's too often about who can be most sensational.
There are few people I listen to or watch anymore. BBC News, Al Jazeera America and NPR can always be counted on to give fair, unbiased news.
When I want educated commentary, I turn to Rachael Maddow, the smartest person on any network.
Labeling performers as journalists does a huge disservice to the dedicated men and women who capably "journal" the events of our times.
It's also an indictment on the gullibility of today's news consumer.

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