Somewhere along the way the study of journalism in America went astray. Somewhere along the way the concept of gathering information and reporting it in a factual and nonbiased manner disappeared and was replaced by a tendency to interpret the news and tell you what to think. Many years back this would have been understood as editorializing, but not today.
This transition away from fact and move to opinion was no accident. Like TASS, the news agency of the Soviet Union (aka the propaganda arm of the government), major news media outlets more and more see themselves as proponents for a leftist worldview. For decades now, professors in the schools of journalism in our colleges and universities have advanced a leftist ideology, teaching that the primary aspect of any news story is not “what” happened, but “why.” The need to stand outside the story and report the facts is tossed aside, and social commentary is encouraged. Nowadays, a good journalist must be able to twist every story line to fit an empathetic narrative of social justice, fairness, equality, or environmental awareness.
The era of Watergate brought big changes to journalism. Sensationalism carried the day with reporters becoming the story and journalistic fame leading to big dollars. No longer was the nightly news anchor the only household name, but investigative reporters arrived on the scene bringing a soap-opera, on-the-ground quality to news broadcasts. As more and more of the print media like newspapers and magazines fell into the hands of liberals, the conservative voice all but disappeared. Eventually the major news networks and the cable news networks followed suit. Liberalism captured the sources of news in America and thereby changed the definition of what was true.
Today the media considers it its mission to defeat Donald Trump and get Hillary Clinton elected. Suddenly the man they adored for their ratings is too unstable to have access to the nuclear codes. At the same time, Hillary Clinton, a career politician and criminal, is served up as having the experience and gravitas to receive that call at 3am, despite her inability to follow procedures safeguarding classified information and her inaction leading to Benghazi. The media ignores that she has lied time and time again to save her political neck. Does the media try to take her to the mat for it—NO! Instead, they busy themselves writing “hit” pieces on Trump. Back in May, it was Trump’s allegedly misogyny. The New York Times intentionally misrepresented the main source of their article, who later said she had been duped by them. For an entire week in July we were told Trump “attacked” the Khan family, presumably to undercut Trump’s appeal with the military. Following the Khan incident, and blithely ignoring Trump's joking tone, the media then asked disingenuously: Did Trump ask Russia to hack Hillary? Did he ask Second Amendment folks to take matters into their gun-slinging hands and knock her off? In their attempts to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office they apparently know no ethical bounds.
This is not journalism—it is outright deceit, manipulation, propaganda, and yes, even lies. But how do we hold them accountable? In order to do that, we must first understand that we are not getting the real picture from them and change our viewing habits accordingly. Sadly, forty-seven percent of Americans will always listen and believe what they see on television. Scare tactic journalism (granny going over the cliff) overcomes their rational minds and cements their votes. This is the audience that the media plays to because the drivel they are selling works with this crowd. Ironically, our media functions in much the same way as our federal government, asking the uninformed to believe what is patently unbelievable. Like $400 million isn’t ransom.
How our future goes will depend greatly on tuning out mainstream media—who are obsessed of late with telling us everyday how badly Trump is doing in the polls—and tuning into information sources whose agenda isn’t to tell us what to think. Once enough of us tune out, viewership will drop to an alarmingly low rate and sponsorship by expensive soap advertising companies will also go down the tubes (pun intended). At that point, we might just gain their attention.
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