Author Topic: Some evidence that the problem is the media  (Read 2180 times)

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Offline Scheavo

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Some evidence that the problem is the media
« on: May 28, 2012, 10:37:36 PM »
http://news.yahoo.com/tony-blair-says-ducked-fight-uk-media-120132082--finance.html

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Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has said that he couldn't stand up to Britain's media tycoons while in power, telling an official media ethics inquiry that doing so could have dragged his administration into a political quagmire.

"I took a strategic decision to manage these people, not confront them," he told Lord Justice Brian Leveson, who is leading the inquiry. "I didn't say that I feared them ... (but) had you decided to confront them, everything would have been pushed to the side. It would have been a huge battle with no guarantee of winning."

I can understand how this could be good, if the media power wasn't so centralized. But it has to make you wonder how many of the problems in US Policies are because Politicians are too afraid of the media backlash (mostly Fox News, drudgereport, etc), and how it would hamper other more important things from happening.

Offline El Barto

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Re: Some evidence that the problem is the media
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2012, 11:25:17 PM »
To the extent that it's a problem I wouldn't single out Fox or Drudge.  As I've said all along, the primary goal of any outlet is to appeal to watchers/viewers/readers, and they'll all act like assholes to that end.  I recognize that FOX sucks and panders to whackjobs, but there's a lot of pandering going on, as well as sensationalism, fear mongering, and division.  FOX is certainly an example of bad journalism, but there can really be no such thing as good journalism when the means to profit is to exploit the masses. 
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Offline jsem

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Re: Some evidence that the problem is the media
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2012, 07:27:15 AM »
No matter what people say, drudge = awesome.

Offline Rick

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Re: Some evidence that the problem is the media
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2012, 07:57:50 AM »
The Media always holds the power. No 'evidence' needed - it's bloody obvious and has been for decades.

Offline jammindude

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Re: Some evidence that the problem is the media
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2012, 08:00:39 AM »
I'm beginning to think that journalism, in its purest form, is dead. 

The point of news is not to spread information.  The point of news is to make money.  You make money by getting viewership, you get viewership by sensationalism.

Even the most noble of news organizations have, at least to some extent, been affected by the TMZ style of journalism that has taken over most of the news outlets.   

Also, you're no longer spreading truth to all the people.   Most news organizations are more intent on maintaining *their* viewers.   Each one has a demographic, and they will give that demographic what it wants to hear.   So the goal is to preach to the converted, with all the different factions maintaining loyalty to their faction, and none of the news outlets daring to say anything that would rock the boat of their demographic.    Let the other faction do that to THEIR converted, so that we can refute it and explain why it's wrong.   And the arguments continue...and the hype goes on...and the viewership is maintained...and the dollars keep rolling in.  etc...etc...etc..

I'm to the point where I'm skeptical of anything I ever hear from any news outlet.    Usually if something is verified by *all* the outlets, it tends to be true...but then the speculation starts and I don't think it's possible to know what really happened.   
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Offline kirksnosehair

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Re: Some evidence that the problem is the media
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2012, 10:56:19 AM »
It used to be that "journalism" was pretty much synonymous with "integrity." 

I believe that the emergence of the 24-hour news channels on cable TV introduced an element of competition in the news media that has led to sensationalism and pandering for the sake of ratings, thus polluting what was once an honorable profession.



Offline El Barto

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Re: Some evidence that the problem is the media
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2012, 11:21:01 AM »
Yeah, competition probably has a huge role in it.  I'd also suspect that it's just become more acceptable to exploit the masses now.  People in general are more interested in Maury Povich now than Walter Cronkite, and the outlets are happy to take advantage of that.  It's made it easier for them to milk it for ratings.
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Offline Scheavo

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Re: Some evidence that the problem is the media
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2012, 03:13:58 PM »
To the extent that it's a problem I wouldn't single out Fox or Drudge.  As I've said all along, the primary goal of any outlet is to appeal to watchers/viewers/readers, and they'll all act like assholes to that end.  I recognize that FOX sucks and panders to whackjobs, but there's a lot of pandering going on, as well as sensationalism, fear mongering, and division.  FOX is certainly an example of bad journalism, but there can really be no such thing as good journalism when the means to profit is to exploit the masses.

TO a degree, I agree with you. I did say mostly, not solely. The media sucks, and the 'left-wing' media is just as sensational as Fox News. But they are not all on the same message. Not the degree to which Fox News is. It's somewhat a character of liberals vs. conservatives, but conservatives, as whole, seem much more on message.

Though liberals might be getting better at it. It's an arms race, in a way, isn't it?

I think the 24 hour news cycle effect is having to make 24 hours of news. That's the true cause of the sensationalism, when you gotta fill the day, you start talking about the same bullshit that's not important, which plays to human emotions more, and gets more ratings.

Offline El Barto

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Re: Some evidence that the problem is the media
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2012, 10:59:05 PM »
Reading about several instances of congressmen attacking each other viciously with canes,  I found an editorial from the Richmond newspaper that makes anything FOX and Limbaugh say sound like Fred Rodgers.  It would appear that we're still no where near as bad as what we had 150 years ago. 

The backstory is that shortly before the civil war, abolitionist congressman Charles Sumner made some unflattering remarks about the uncle of the anti-abolitionist Preston Brooks, who took exception.  As Sumner was seen as lower class, a duel was deemed inappropriate, so Brooks chose to beat the living shit out of him with his cane for a while, as his associate congressman from South Carolina held the others at bay with a pistol.  The beating only subsided when his cane broke, and Brooks Sumner was pretty much a blind cripple.  It took three years for him to recover.

The Richmond Enquirer followed up with this wonderful piece of journalism:

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A Southern Response to the Caning of Sumner, 1856

From "The Sumner Discipline -- The Needful Remedy," Richmond Enquirer, June 3, 1856.

A few Southern journals, affecting an exclusive refinement of feeling or regard for the proprieties of official intercourse, unite with the abolition papers in condemning the chastisement inflicted upon Sumner by the Hon. P. S. Brooks. We have no patience with these mealy mouthed pharisees of the Press. Why not speak out and declare at once that you are shocked by the :"brutality of a slave-holding ruffian!" It is much more manly to adopt the violent vocabulary of the Tribune, than to insinuate disapprobation in the meek accents of a conscience-smitten saint.  In the main, the press of the South applaud the conduct of Mr. Brooks, without condition or limitation. Our approbation at least is entire and unreserved. We consider the act good in conception, better in execution, and best of all in consequence. These vulgar abolitionists in the Senate are getting above themselves. They have been humored until they forget their position. They have grown saucy, and dare to be impudent to gentlemen! Now, they are a low, mean, scurvy set, with some little book learning, but as utterly devoid of spirit or honor as a peck of cure.

Intrenched behind "privilege," they fancy they can slander the South and insult its Representatives, with impunity. The truth is they have been suffered to run too long without collars. They must be lashed into submission. Sumner, in particular, ought to have nine and-thirty early every morning. He is a great strapping fellow, and could stand the cowhide beautifully. Brooks frightened him, and at the first blow of the cane, he bellowed like a bull-calf. There is the blackguard Wilson, an ignorant Nantick cobbler, swaggering in excess of muscle, and absolutely dying for a beating. Will not somebody take him in hand? Hale is another huge, red face, sweating scoundrel, whom some gentlemen should kick and cuff until he abates something of his impudent talk. These men are perpetually abusing the people and representatives of the South, for tyrants, robbers, ruffians, adulterers, and what not. Shall we stand it? Can gentlemen sit still in the Senate and House of Representatives, under an incessant stream of denunciation from wretches who avail themselves of the privilege of place, to indulge their devilish passions with impunity? It is an idle mockery to challenge one of these scullions.

It is equally useless to attempt to disgrace them. They are insensible to shame; and can be brought to reason only by an application of cowhide or gutta percha. Let them once understand that for every vile word spoken against the South, they will suffer so many stripes, and they will soon learn to behave themselves, like decent dogs--they can never be gentlemen. Mr. Brooks has initiated this salutary discipline, and he deserves applause for the bold, judicious manner, in which he chastised the scamp Sumner. It was a proper act, done at the proper time, and in the proper place. Of all places on earth the Senate chamber, the theatre of his vituperative exploits, was the very spot where Sumner should have been made to suffer for his violation of the decencies of decorous debate, and for his brutal denunciation of a venerable statesman.

It was literally and entirely proper, that he should be stricken down and beaten just beside the desk against which he leaned as he culminated his filthy utterances through the capitol. It is idle to talk of the sanctity of the Senate Chamber, since it is polluted by the presence of such fellows as Wilson and Sumner and Wade. They have desecrated it, and cannot now fly to it as to a sanctuary from the lash of vengeance. We trust other gentlemen will follow the example of Mr. Brooks, that so a curb may be imposed upon the truculence and audacity of abolition speakers.--If need be, let us have a caning or cowhiding every day. If the worse comes to the worse, so much the sooner so much the better.
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Offline Scheavo

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Re: Some evidence that the problem is the media
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2012, 11:42:27 PM »
The media has always been able to instigate? Ya, no doubt. You'd be better off pointing to the American Independence. The difference is, back then, there was a very extremely diverse source of media. Media ownership has been centralized, and while a lot of younger and more internet savvy persons might be able to reach a diverse source of news, there's a large section of the population which don't do this. I'd say this perspective is missing in your analysis, but you do bring up a valid counter point.  The example is similar, but the environment in which those examples occur are different.

And I think there's a hard point to make that slavery is akin to what's going on now, or even the socioeconomic forces leading to the Civil War.

Offline kirksnosehair

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Re: Some evidence that the problem is the media
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2012, 01:58:38 PM »

Offline ReaPsTA

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Re: Some evidence that the problem is the media
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2012, 02:40:04 PM »
Does anybody have any actual solutions to this problem?
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Offline Scheavo

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Re: Some evidence that the problem is the media
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2012, 02:46:26 PM »
Well, we could use the government to break up the news conglomerates; it wouldn't be silencing anyone, Murdoch could still have an outlet for his opinion, he just wouldn't own so much of the media. Or, we could wait for older people to die, because younger people generally get their news from a greater variety of sources. Blogs are probably an important feature too.

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Seriously? That's almost insulting. It's like watching a promo for the WWE.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2012, 02:52:54 PM by Scheavo »

Offline El Barto

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Re: Some evidence that the problem is the media
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2012, 04:00:44 PM »
Does anybody have any actual solutions to this problem?
Well, one of the problems that I see is that Americans aren't exactly becoming any brighter.  Scheavo's correct that younger people tend to get more diversified news, but if they're not smart enough to filter it out properly, it probably won't matter.  It also seems to be the case that these youngins don't really give a damn about politics anyway. 

To demonstrate the prior, consider that FOX has every right to editorialize.  Their only obligation is to keep their editorializing separate from their journalism, which of course they don't even bother with anymore.  Smart people can discern what qualifies as actual reporting and what's promoting a specific agenda.  The modern media continues to blur the line more and more, and quite frankly, the average American can't really separate the two anymore.  Hell, I find it hard sometimes and I'm certainly not the average Joe.  It takes thought and reason.  Even if I had confidence that we were cranking out youngsters capable of figuring it out, I'm not sure they'd actually have any interest in bothering.

So I guess in short, I'm not sure there is any solution.  Particularly since I think our dysfunctional media and the masses it panders to are a chicken/egg scenario.  It's just the evolution of people and their news media, and the people are just as much to blame.
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Offline Scheavo

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Re: Some evidence that the problem is the media
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2012, 07:01:14 PM »
Quote
Particularly since I think our dysfunctional media and the masses it panders to are a chicken/egg scenario.  It's just the evolution of people and their news media, and the people are just as much to blame.

In some sense, I think your right. I don't think the media will ever be "good," so to speak, but I see no reason why it has to be as bad as it is.

Offline jasc15

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Re: Some evidence that the problem is the media
« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2012, 06:29:03 AM »
Somewhat related:

Has anyone seen promos for the new HBO show Newsroom?  From what I can gather from the teasers, Jeff Daniels' character plays a reporter who snaps and then uses his show as a platform for telling everyone how his cable news channel has been bullshitting everyone for the past decade.

Offline El Barto

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Re: Some evidence that the problem is the media
« Reply #16 on: May 31, 2012, 08:08:45 AM »
Argument, the presentation of reasonable views, never makes headway against conviction, and conviction takes no part in argument because it knows.
E.F. Benson

Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: Some evidence that the problem is the media
« Reply #17 on: May 31, 2012, 09:29:52 AM »
Somewhat related:

Has anyone seen promos for the new HBO show Newsroom?  From what I can gather from the teasers, Jeff Daniels' character plays a reporter who snaps and then uses his show as a platform for telling everyone how his cable news channel has been bullshitting everyone for the past decade.
Yep.  I love Aaron Sorkin, so I can't wait until this starts.
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