What happened to real news reporting?
When I was a kid I didn’t want news. When dad would come home and switch off my beloved fake family, The Brady Bunch, to turn on scenes of carnage with the daily body count from the Vietnam war, I groaned, complained and left the room. I didn’t want to know about horrible things. News broke my heart and worried me. I didn’t understand it. My earliest recollection of the news contains scenes of President Kennedy being shot, adults around me crying, little Caroline and Teddy standing at the big box with the flag draped over it.
I’m not a kid anymore (haven’t been for quite some time now).
I want news now. I want to know what’s really going on in the world. Trouble is, news has become sensationalized, biased, censored and polarized. Rarely do I read or hear a news report that reflects objective, investigative, thorough and unbiased facts. I watch Fox News, and get an earful of super right-wing political op-ed reports, replete with arguments between reporters, none of whom are experts, all of whom are confident that they are right and everyone else is woefully ignorant. They wrap it up with pleasantries, as if to say, ‘Hey, we’re all friends here
,’ but where is the news? Forgive me if I’m wrong, Fox News guys and gals, but it seems that way to me.
I switch to CNN. Here I find another sort of pseudo-professionalism–polished, likeable reporters, all politically correct, and though appearing to present investigative reports, they are obviously selective in pointing out liberal successes and conservative failures while minimizing or completely ignoring liberal failures and conservative successes. Similar story on ABC, MS-NBC, Headline News and CBS. Hmmm, maybe the Internet will be better. I use the major search engines, and again, I find extreme polarization and politically biased reporting, short teasers lacking depth–incomplete coverage.
Maybe there’s something wrong with me, but I want to learn and understand the whole story before I come to an opinion of my own. I think the news should give me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It just doesn’t work that way, though. It wouldn’t be so bad, if there were somewhere I could find all the parts to assemble the big picture. That is such a task, I frankly don’t have time for it.
So what do we do?
Do we just accept the idea that we don’t, can’t, won’t know the whole story? Can we be comfortable with not knowing? Can we live with the sense that we don’t know it all? Does our identity, self-confidence and personal sense of security need to know it all in order to feel okay? Is there a way to live and socialize intelligently while admitting to ourselves and others that we don’t have the whole truth and have not yet arrived at our final decision on weighty world issues?
Do we protest the state of our news media today? Can we demand changes of the system through boycotts? Can we create grassroots news services that truly check and balance themselves against bias? Can we legislate rules about journalism without compromising freedom of speech? Is this happening out there and I just haven’t heard about it yet?
I don’t know. I’d like to know. Please, if you can enlighten me here, leave your comments.
©Joan T Warren