Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Liberal Elite Media

I think that both sides can safely agree that both sides, at some point or another, have played dirty. Now, we all know who we each think played dirtier, but that's not what I want to talk about. The question I would put out to this mass series of tubes is this: Does the media simply cover these tactics or do they add to it? Is what they do ethical? Is it journalism?

I have to say that, having just talked in class about the difference between "neutrality" and an "independence of spirit", I realize that the line is blurred at best. But what is the answer? How do you simply report on something that is personally offensive to you? Is it possible to separate oneself from emotion when reporting a topic that emotionally charged or controversial? Is that something we should even want to do?

Dummification: A Vicious Cycle?

I've been a frequenter of NPR in addition to my other news providers, such as CNN, MSNBC, and FOXNEWS, for several years. I've recently noticed, however, a fairly disturbing trend among the latter news providers: the "dummification" of delivery and sometimes facts. I don't want to make this blog a "Why anything but NPR should be destroyed or at least ignored" (even though I could, in good conscience).

This problem is often highlighted on The Daily Show or The Colbert Report but since they've been preoccupied with more pressing ridiculousness, I thought I'd take a stab at it.

Going back a few months, I was played a very interesting story done by NPR on a program titled "This American Life." Ira Glass takes the listener through the very interesting, complex story of the mortgage crisis and, thus, the economic free-fall.

There are a few points I would like to make regarding this story. NPR's piece ran in May of this year. The first primetime coverage by MSNBC was not until late August at the earliest. Beyond that delay, comparing the information provided is laughable. MSNBC and others all seem to use the same guidelines in their choice of visuals. While attempting to convey the information in what we can only assume is supposed to be a user friendly way, the program begins to feel like it's aimed at the "under 5" demographic. Living in the time of facebook and one click shopping, we have become a generation of unblinking, ADD, videogamers. (This coming from someone with diagnosed ADHD.) NPR doesn't have the temptation to ustilize those silly cartoon visuals. Done in audio only, they rely on clear, conscise, story-telling style where the facts have to be solid and in the right places or the program will collapse in on itself.

Now, as for those actual facts... Once the primetime guys FINALLY heard the news and decided to pass it on to the rest of us, they still couldn't get the information out. Despite their best efforts of cartoons, animated mailboxes, and bad guy/good guy charicatures, the information still remained buried. It was well into September when a very intelligent and respected professor exclaimed in frustration, "We still don't know what caused this!" The general public believes it has all the facts and is well-informed when really, it is being treated like a child who feels like it's a big kid being treated as an adult, eating up the crap baby food it's being fed with a complacent smile on its face.

The question I am asking to myself and to you, if you feel like answering it, is:

Can we put a stop to a viscious cycle that we're not even aware of?