Thursday, July 19, 2012

Decline of the News

The Relentless Decline of the News by STEVEN HIGGS

Gallup Polling shows public confidence in the 'news' at an all time low.  This of course is an under-reported story by the 'news'.

If you get your view of the world from the media, it seems the world trusts the world's most trusted new source and the fair and balanced reporting.  So, this Gallup Poll is a welcome reminder that many, many people see this as schlep unrelated to their lives, and has learned not to trust the people who's lies about facts about Iraq's WMD's helped contribute to the deaths of 4,500 Americans in a needless war.

And given the sheer awfulness of the coverage of a modern American policitcal campaign combined with the media overload associated with that, these numbers are only likely to drop in coming months.

The article contains a fascinating breakdown of eras

While the poll’s historic fits and starts could be tied to specific events, four distinct periods can be delineated throughout the nearly four decades that newspapers have been included in Gallup’s annual confidence poll. 
1973 to 1979 – Public confidence in newspapers, then the most dominant source of news for American citizens, soared from the high 30s to the peak at 51 percent. 
1980 to 1982 – Public confidence in newspapers declined more precipitously than it had risen, falling to 35 percent. 
1983 to 2000 – Public confidence in newspapers averaged in the mid-30s, fluctuating between 29 and 39 percent. 
2001 to 2012 – Public confidence in newspapers steadily declined from 37 percent to 25, with a low of 22 in 2007.

I became old enough start trying to look at the world around me, and watch the news and read to try to understand it, during that first era.  This was the hey-dey of investigative journalism.  This was Woodward and Bernstein exposing Watergate, and then the era when investigative journalists at every news outlet wanted to make the same sort of name for themselves by exposing corporate or government or military fraud or abuse.

The second is the Reagan era of Morning in America, when the corporate media declared that Americans were 'tired' of 'bad news'.

The third is the era when corporations took over the ownership of previously independently owed newspapers, tv stations and radio stations.  Its the era when the walls between the corporate business arm of these operations and the previously sacrosanct news operations came tumbling down.

The there's the last era which could be called the Bush BS era when the 'news' seem to give up the concepts of facts and reporting and just became propaganda organs.  This is the era when all the 'personalities' on the 'news' put American flags on their lapels and said they'd do whatever they could to serve.

My favorite scene in V for Vendetta is near the end, when the Great Leader is trying to control his people by speaking to them on the tele, and there's only empty chairs in front.  That's the most potent weapon the people have against a corporate media that today just wants to sell to them and manipulate them .... DON'T WATCH.  Turn it off.  If TV News doesn't help you to meaningfully not only understand the world around you, and to participate to change the world around you, then turn them off.  Walk away.  Leave just empty chairs in front of the TV.

That's how we pull aside the curtain to reveal that the mighty wizard who has dominated our lives is really just a silly and powerless little man sitting at some controls.

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