Sunday, January 11, 2009

Media: One Insulting Word

Just a thought or two about the media in our country. Media here means encompassing all print and electronic media. Challenge: describe "the US media" in a single word. Here are some suggestions: incompetent, brainless, pablum, crass, dumb, sophomoric, infuriating, pointless, worthless, empty, mush. I'm afraid I could go on. Any of these descriptions, all of them, fit. Jon Stewart knows this, and he takes the only reasonable position: he mocks the media constantly, reminding us all of what in insult to our intelligence it has become.

This line of thought is prompted by an article I read a day or so ago which begins: "The American print and TV media have never been very good. These days they are horrible."
This article could have been about any one of a hundred media-related topics, but in fact it addressed the ongoing abomination in Gaza. Specifically the propaganda machine that the media has become for the government's unflinching support of Israel. The author, Paul Craig Roberts, claims that independent reporting disappeared entirely from US media when Rupert Murdoch and a handful of other moguls concentrated control of virtually every media outlet in a handful of corporations. Right, and aided by Bill Clinton, as he points out.

The only places left to go for independent reporting in America are the blogosphere and small weekly independent newspapers, and there is hope in the foreign press of getting an intelligent take on the news. He's right. But he also claims the US public is slowly catching on to the empty shells print media has become, as witnessed by the slow deaths of newspapers across the country. Sorry, but I see this more as a reflection of feckless American society, not critical-thinking American society. That has long since died, and it's not coming back.
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