This post, as with most things on this blog, are solely my opinion. Some of you are not going to like this but I can’t hold it in anymore. I feel much like I did after the presidential election this year. Disgusted. Disgusted because of the media, by of the tampering down of opposing views. Disgusted that we as a people no longer get the full factual story on anything political. I don’t care who you voted for or who you support. Here is my issue. We have no watchdog.
The intent of the media throughout history was to be the “watchdog” of the people. When our government was formed it was intended to make sure we did not put leaders into power that would re-establish imperialism and monarchy in newly formed America.
Just the Facts
Throughout history the purpose of the media has been to investigate the workings of government, keep them accountable and present us the people with THE FACTS. Their job was never…never to tell us what we believe. It was never to present their feelings. Yes, sometimes people analyze the meaning of these facts, debate and discuss opinions but this happened in coffee houses, shops and town squares. Not in the newspaper’s.
The need of the media to stay out of the discussion was imperative to insure the facts remain true and real. I know there were plenty of times in history when this did not happen and it has had disastrous results. i.e. Yellow Journalism. But most of the time reporting the facts was the intent of the media. The reporters and journalist would discuss their personal views with friends, family and their own inner circle but did not let those view seep over into the page or screen. That was not their role.
What caused the change
Lately, I have been curious when this change in the purpose of the press occurred and I have come up with two points in history which seem to be catalysts of this change. The first being Watergate. Yes, the quintessential example of the need for objective, well researched, good journalism is also what created a need among media people to have a say in creating a desired outcome.
In my opinion, (yes it is only my opinion after researching and reading about the event.) Watergate and the actions of Nixon was such a deep betrayal of our system of government and the process that many in the media felt an increased responsibility to ensure it is never allowed to happen again. For that reason, the media became much less respectful, more aggressive and argumentative with following presidents.
The problem came in that these journalist began to do more then just report on events they began to interpret and analyze them. This is not necessarily a bad thing but it was not what their purpose was. Analysis and opinion news began popping in a much less obvious way. I believe there was so much fear and trepidation of another Nixon White House it became associated with many presidential candidates..
Likewise, the intense emotions that arose from the Vietnam War caused many journalist to become unable to remain objective. Add to that the media circus that occurred in the wake of the Iran hostage crisis. Brought the rise of an new sensationalism. Media took more of the role of interpreter and less of the roll of reporter.
Opinions are like…
The second factor, very clearly was the rise of social media. Everyone everywhere can have an opinion. Which in my mind is also not a bad thing. The problem has come in the blurring of the lines between opinion. People actually believe what they see on fictional entertainment shows as real. With the development of cable new channels, 24 hour news cycles and Facebook “experts,” act checking became almost irrelevant as opinions dominated.
When I think about it I am right now doing the very thing I am saying the media does. I’m putting my opinions out there with very little fact behind it. Only my interpretation of events. So yes…I am totally guilty of contributing to the fact-less noise out there. GUILTY. With one difference. I do not claim to be a news outlet. This is not reporting on events. These are only my views and I am identifying as such.
Last night while watching the inauguration I heard a reporter, someone reporting the event, say they are happy about Trumps election. I could only think they were just as bad as when Chris Mathews said the much talked about “chill up his leg,” during Obama’s presidency
To me this is the problem. This is not a partisan issue, it is a countrywide problem. If the media continues to create the story they agree with, leave out facts, and interpret things for us, how will we ever know what is really going on. It happens on both sides and does a disservice to us all.
“Bias in the news media manifests itself most powerfully not in the form of outright, intentional lies, but is most often a function of what reporters choose not to tell their audience; i.e., the facts they purposely omit so as to avoid contradicting the political narrative they wish to advance. Media researchers Tim Groseclose and Jeffrey Milyo said“[F]or every sin of commission…we believe that there are hundreds, and maybe thousands, of sins of omission – cases where a journalist chose facts or stories that only one side of the political spectrum is likely to mention.” – quote from DiscovertheNetworks.org.