24 hour news shows may very well have spelled the end to honest and factual news reporting. I'm not the first one to say or think that. Far from it. The 24 hour news channels have to keep the news "fresh" and they have to "beat" their competition to the "big stories". That often means that they forget to check the facts before they air those stories. And that often results in erroneous "reporting" of items that are presented to us, the public, as actual and factual "news". This concerns me for many reasons, not the least being that so much of America relies on these "news" shows for our information about things that actually matter to us as a nation. Things like: which candidate is the best qualified to be our next president? It used to be that you could look to the news to get an understanding of what a candidate stood for, what their goals were, what vision they hoped to implement if elected. You could do that because news anchors and reporters used to be "neutral". They reported the news, period. They didn't try to influence us one way or the another. And they sure didn't tell us their opinions about what a great guy this candidate is or that candidate is. They left the opinion-giving to the editorial folks. When you saw or read an editorial, you knew it was an opinion and not a fact. Nowadays, you can't tell the difference. It's all presented as "news". For instance, during recent election coverage, MSNBC's Chris Matthews all but salivated when he talked about Obama and I damn near wanted to offer him a cigarette when he was done talking about him. When Matthews told viewers how he got "chills up his legs" when he heard Obama speak...well, let's just say I thought that fell into the category of T.M.I. (Too Much Information) and was, in no way, appropriate for a so-called "news" person to say. Meanwhile, he eviscerated Hillary Clinton every chance he got and he spoke as if the Republican front runner, John McCain, would merely be a name on the ballot come November, not a serious candidate to win. Granted, Matthews is more a pundit and a talk-show host than an actual "news" person, but he has (according to him) made "a commitment to cover politics", a commitment he wants to "honor" and that prevents him from "getting involved in actual politics himself". Newsflash for you Chris: You're not covering politics if you're doing more editorializing than reporting. You are, in fact, campaigning under the guise of covering. Big difference.
I generally get my morning news fix from a variety of sources; CBS, ABC, CNN Headline News and FOX. I used to watch NBC in the a.m., but just can't do it anymore. The show grates on my nerves like fingernails on a chalkboard and I'm not even sure why. I also used to watch MSNBC's Morning Joe, but had to stop because they weren't imparting any news anymore. They had become yet another part of the Obama for President Campaign. I can't watch FOX exclusively because they are more the "give me a Republican for President - I don't even care which one" school of thought and I can't watch the main CNN channel because they are of the "the whole world is going to hell, it's all the fault of Republicans but Democrats are too flaky to fix the mess we're in so let's just sit here and shake our heads at how much the world hates us" school of thought. I only watch CBS and ABC because, well, heck...at least the faces change even if the stories don't. But overall, I come away from my morning news show viewing wondering if what I've heard is really true or if it's unsubstantiated bull hockey. It's gotten to the point where I take all that I've heard, combine it with all that I have read regarding a certain situation and try to figure out what really rings true. What a way to get a view of the world, eh? Oh, and do I have proof that the news really isn't the news anymore? Well, yeah, I think I do. Does anybody remember the recent story (carried by all the networks and cable news) about the kid who supposedly baked LSD and/or pot into some cookies and then delivered them to Ft. Worth area police stations as part of his community service commitment to MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving)? This story was everywhere - on every channel, on the internet, just everywhere. Well golly gee, a day or so after the story ran, they got the test results on those cookies back. No drugs. What was reported as fact was a mistake. An error. Someone jumped to a wrong conclusion and the media ran with it. Good job, guys. Another story had to do with sightings of great white sharks off the coast of Martha's Vineyard, which just happens to be where they filmed "Jaws". Yeah, the sharks were spotted, beaches were closed, people were all a dither. Quite a coincidence, it being the filming location of one of the scariest shark movies in history. I mean wow! How strange is that? And what potential for a great story, right?!! What if someone was actually attacked there? Boy...you could just see the news people's eyes glowing at the thought. But wait a tick. The next day came the news that the story was a hoax. Not that I saw anybody reporting that on the morning news, mind you. I read it online. But yeah, it was a falsehood, a fake, an untruth. It was reported as fact, but....as it turns out, it was just some dipstick making stuff up and, again, the media ran with it. (Gosh, they do great work.)
If they don't even bother to get the little stuff correct, how can we trust that they're actually getting the big stuff right, either? But hey listen, don't worry about it too much. I mean, at least the news channels are still reporting on the really important stuff. Stuff like Christie Brinkley's divorce and Angelina Jolie's womb happenings. You know, the stuff of legends. The stuff that makes the world go 'round. And it's brought to you by the people who are determining what information and which stories matter to America today (and shame on us for going along with this drivel!!). Now let me ask you something...are these really the people you're going to rely on to help you determine who you'll vote for to be the leader of the Free World????
Think about it....And before you get all upset with me for talking politics...know this; I don't care who you vote for. Rather, I care that you vote from an informed position, that you believe in your chosen candidate and that you make up your mind based on your research, not some talking head's. Don't just vote for a buzzword. Buzzwords won't change the world, they merely look good on a t-shirt. Don't just vote along political party lines, either. Not all party candidates are worthy of that sort of blind devotion. Scratch that. None of them are. Know the candidate, not just his/her affiliation. And don't just vote for someone because you think it's the right thing to to. Know that it is. Your vote counts, it matters, it's important and voting is a privilege, not a bother.
And that's our story here in beautiful downtown Bugtussle, Texas. Reporting to you live, this is
Now back to you in the newsroom, Jim.
P.S. There, did you see how easy it was for me to fake being a reporter?? LOL