Jay Reding.com

Dumbing Down The News

As loathe as I am to praise anything on that site, this Daily Kos diarist does an adept job of removing the filler from CNN.com and showing how devoid it is of substantive news. Then again, even “reputable” news sources like The New York Times are becoming propaganda — perhaps more eloquent than the which-celebrity-is-banging-which-other-celebrity dreck found in the popular media, but no more illuminating. Is it any major surprise that old media is seeing their profits sink dramatically?

The problem with American media is that you can get your “news” packed with more filler than a stadium hotdog or you can get “substantive” news that’s as relentlessly ideological as to be worthless. Outside of the blogosphere, it’s damned hard to find substantive news with real analysis. A good part of the problem comes from the way journalists perceive themselves: we don’t need journalists to be crusaders, we need them to tell us the damned story and let us make up our own minds. At the same time the endless pop-culture fluff of celebrity news brings in the ratings, and therefore takes a disproportionate share of the airtime.

Blogs are skyrocketing because they can provide a level of analysis that the mainstream media just can’t top. Michael Totten’s work is better than anything I’ve read in The New York Times in decades. If I want to know what’s really going on in Iraq, I’m better off with Michael Yon, Bill Roggio, or Iraq the Model than any mainstream source. I know where their biases lie, and I also know I can trust them to deliver unvarnished news. The media covers ever car bombing, but do they cover the ins and outs of Iraqi politics like Iraq the Model? I’ve never seen a single mainstream media report that does nearly as good a job.

The confluence of the mindless and the ideological has rendered much of the mainstream media worthless. I don’t give a damn about what vapid starlet is treating some poor Third World child like it was a Cartier watch, nor do I particularly want my news filtered through the worldview of an elitist Colombia J-School grad who is desperately trying to be the next Bob Woodward.

If the mainstream media wants to be irrelevant or ideological, thankfully technology gives us a multitude of views who can actually shed light on our world.

One response to “Dumbing Down The News”

  1. Dave says:

    The other day on WCCO TV they had commentary from ol’ Don about the quality of news on The Daily show. It was rated as having actual news value and it measured favorably with most newscasts. Unfortunately for both sources the content was rated as slim and generally of little value. For The Daily Show which is intended as a humor show this is what one would expect. Don seemed somewhat taken aback by the study results. Think it will result in actual news on the WCCO newscasts? I doubt it.

    Dave