Monday, August 17, 2009

The Day Journalism Died

The main reason you see so much partisanship in the media today, more so than say 30 years ago, can be pinpointed to one specific event in human history. The day journalism died. That day happen on June 1, 1980. That was the day that Ted Turner launched his brainchild called CNN and the birth of 24 hour cable news began. That was the very moment that news died as a journalistic field of integrity and became show business with a political ideology and agenda.

Soon to follow were the joining of Bill Gates and NBC News to form MSNBC and right on the heels of those two came Fox Cable News. Soon after that came the parody news programs like Jon Stewart and the Colbert Report, both originally meant as a satiric look at the cable news industry and how far they had moved real news away from an unbiased view of world, national and local events to a mouthpiece for the political agenda of the cable news owners. Now, even Stewart and Colbert are taken as serious news in some quarters. Worse yet, because of falling revenue due to more people watching and less people reading, the newspapers and news magazines, once somewhat dependable weather gauges of events, have fallen under the same spell and now spout mainly agenda instead of hard news. My how far we have fallen. No wonder no one really knows what the hell is going on in the world. All they really get is 24-hours of constant brain bashing of the political agenda of the news station they are watching.

When I grew up we use to watch Walter Cronchite every night for our 30 minute news fix. He gave us the straight news. Not his opinion, not his ideas, not his slant of the events or his interpretation of them, but simply told his viewers what happen and let them decide what they wanted about it. That is journalist integrity....a straight telling of the story and the events that surround that story. No one who didn't know Walter ever knew what his particular political leanings were. We didn't need to know, nor did we care. We simply wanted the straight poop, not a lot of frill or ideology. We were quite capable of creating our own. It wasn't until the man retired that anyone outside of his close circle knew his own personal political leanings. You would have never known from his reporting if he was a liberal, moderate, conservative, libertarian, socialist, communist, atheist, deist...whatever. He simply told his viewers what happened and closed with ....."And that's the way it was."

That kind of clear, clean and honest reporting died on June 1, 1980 and it will probably never return. We now have a whole generation of people in this world who have no idea what journalistic integrity is and think people like Wolfe Blitzer, Katie Couric, Charlie Gibson, Brian Williams, Cooper Anderson Bret Bahr and Shepard Smith are news anchors. They are news political pundants hired to spread the propagandist ideas of their company, no more and no less. There are no more real news journalist left in this world. They have gone the way of the dinosaur and will never return. Too bad!

Goodnight and Goodluck Mr. Edward R. Murrow.

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