With the advent of radio and television (suitcase radio), the knock on newspapers was that everything in them was “yesterday’s news.” And it was, of course.
But, readers also became listeners and viewers as well. We adjusted to three main sources of information and most enjoyed the mix. With the advent of computerized information on the I-Net machine, most of us just added the fourth source and continued with our lives.
A lot of people, it seems, don’t necessarily pay attention to all media availability, choosing, instead, to rely on one or two which best fit their lives. Or, how they see the world. Accurate or not. Few of us utilize all four daily.
But, after some 40 years of broadcast and print employment, I’m one of those who seeks more informational input than most. After daily reading-listening-viewing-scanning, and with that background, I find it curious why most sources do some of the things they do.
For example, why are we being visually and mentally accosted by people being passed off as “newsmakers” who have long-since been discredited or are known serial liars?
The ubiquitous Kellyanne Conway is a prime example of both. Yet, day-after-day, there she is on our TV boxes, being given more expensive air time to mislead, argue and outright lie about whatever the subject may be. The woman has no credibility, spends more time challenging the interviewer than answering questions and has long-since proven the old adage “You know she’s lying ‘cause her mouth’s moving.” Yet, there she is.
Anthony Scaramucci is another. White House Director of Communications for a week before being fired for his lying ways and a big, foul and argumentative mouth. Why does the media keep resurrecting him in our living rooms? What “news value” could there possibly be? Why would anyone care about anything he has to say?
And Sean Spicer, disinformation and lying piled five-foot-four inches high. No official position for anything. What the Hell can he say that anyone with a grasp on reality wants to hear?
Throw in Carter Page, Roger Stone, Mike Mulvaney, Kanye West, any Kardashian, Papadopolis, Myers, Alex Jones, Coulter and a full quarter of Congress.
Consider this. According to Pentagon sources, this country has military in 73 locations around the world. More than a quarter are actively involved in hazardous areas where they can be - and often are - killed. What about their stories? What do we know of them? When do we hear about them?
We have American men and women in actual wars. Undeclared wars. Wars where people are dying. What about them? Dover Air Force Base receives bodies on a near-daily basis. Do we know how many? Where they died? Why they had to die? Where are the reporters?
Investors buying up media properties - like so many Monopoly pieces - have turned hard news broadcasting and many print outlets into businesses of profit and loss. Corporate “bean counters” and ratings companies determine format and content more than professional journalists or broadcasters. Focus groups are used to select “pretty people” with “likability quotients” to be “reporters” when most of them couldn’t write a lost-and-found ad.
It’s not just “fake” news to be avoided. It’s also some of the well-known outfits that have sacrificed integrity and really deep coverage of important events and people in favor of fluff and meaningless drivel. CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, Sinclair and many, many others share the blame. Thanks to them, well-researched, factual coverage of people, places and events is getting harder and harder to find.
We live in a world in which technology provides us more information than ever. But, much of it is meaningless if not outright factless. As consumers, it’s no longer “what you know” but rather “Is what you think you know accurate and factual?”
Hard to tell sometimes. Not everyone you hear from is as easy to spot as Kellyanne. A true “professional.”