It’s the media that are broken

Published on Online Journal, by Nicholas Ivan Ladendorf, Nov. 2, 2010.

There is a lot of talk about how government is broken and not enough talk about how the media are also broken. Reporting is no longer about informing the public. It is almost exclusively a series of stories trying to scoop the competition.

It is especially heinous around election time. Instead of covering who the candidates are and what they stand for, the viewing audiences get pundits trying to predict the future. This soothsaying only guarantees the candidates who can afford to buy airtime or copy even more airtime and more copy, giving the information hungry audience only empty calories … // 

… The rest of the media goes out of their way to avoid being stuck with the bogus liberal media bias. Has anyone asked where this comes from? Because it doesn’t make any sense if you know any actual lefties. The news media under represents them. An antiwar protest of a few thousand doesn’t seem to get the same coverage as a tea party rally of a few hundred. I’ve seen birthers given airtime but not anyone from Green Peace, not even during the oil spill. Where are the leftwing nuts? How can there be an honest debate when only one extreme is represented?

The claim of a liberal media is never challenged. I imagine it’s because any challenge to the claim would only prove the liberalness of the challenger. Meanwhile, Fox News plows forward with its biases and answers all criticism with a slogan that claims to be fair and balanced.

Where some see conspiracies, I see inertia and all the players being so invested in the system they cannot see the harm they do. The same companies that flood Washington with lobbyists own most of the media outlets and/or provide them with most of their revenue. Even NPR, which claims to be independent, during pledge week is getting corporate money. There is little introspection when it can affect ones standard of living.

I am not writing this as a way to blame the horse race style of political coverage for the level of support I am getting in my bid for Congress. I am simply expressing my outrage at the media’s part in the dumbing down of politics, because I don’t share your apparent cynicism of the intelligence of the American people. But I do believe the actions of the media enforce the reflexive bickering. The media enforces picking allegiance over analysis. The media enforces choosing party over positions. And the media enforces sensationalism over substance. (full text).

(Nicholas Ivan Ladendorf was the Progressive Party candidate for the US House of Representatives, 7th District, Missouri).

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