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Replacing 9/11 With… The Kardashians?!

September 11th, 2012

Chalk up another “victory” for the mainstream media!

Instead of devoting live coverage to the moment of silence in New York City on 9/11, NBC’s “Today” decided to skip it and stay in studio to do a live interview with Kardashian “mom-ager” Kris Jenner.

The topics?  The recent developments in daughter Kim’s divorce and juicy tidbits about Jenner’s recently-acquired breast implants.

NBC’s decision left thousands of angry viewers taking out their frustration on Twitter.  One person called NBC’s decision “inhumane”.  Another called it “disgraceful”.  Another simply asked “WTF??”  One Twitter user even went as far as to say, “Congratulations, terrorists — you’ve finally won.”

Has the mainstream media sunk that low in the past 11 years?

Do you remember the coverage that “Today” had on September 11, 2001?  It was devoted to facts and the latest breaking updates.  Matt Lauer and Katie Couric were even joined by an NBC News reporter, who was covered in dust and debris, talk about his experience of having to dive into an open car as the first tower fell.

THAT’S what American journalism is supposed to be about.  Our forefathers didn’t insist that the 1st Amendment include Freedom of the Press so that we could talk about celebrity boob jobs and divorces.  Instead, our forefathers believed that the media was a vital part in creating a vibrant democracy.  Now, it seems like they’re more interested in helping people shill books and advancing their own political agendas than anything else.

Remember when we promised the victims of 9/11 that we would “never forget”?  That’s a promise NBC decided not to honor.

The Media and Politics — Why is the Line So Fuzzy?

September 4th, 2012

Open up any history book, and you’ll see what a big role Ben Franklin played in the earliest days of American politics.  Among his many accomplishments, Franklin spent time in the Pennsylvania Assembly, the Constitutional Convention, and the Continental Congress.

But did you know that Franklin was also a newspaper man?

He owned — and wrote articles for — the Pennsylvania Gazette.  He even drew America’s very first political cartoon — a snake carved up into pieces, with the words “Join, or Die” underneath it.  Each portion of the snake represented a Colony.  Its message was clear — stand together against British rule.

But what would we say if one of the current leaders in Washington owned, wrote for, and drew cartoons for a newspaper?  Would we argue that the politician’s views were getting in the way of news-telling?

Sadly, it’s not the politicians we have to worry about.  These days, it’s the reporters who seem to be getting in the way of news-telling!

Decades ago, TV stations and newspapers forbid reporters and anchors from even having political bumper stickers on their cars — much less sharing any political views on the air or in print.  Today, political opinions are flying around on every channel!

Just check out some of the headlines surrounding Mitt Romney’s speech at the Republican National Convention:

From NBC News:

“Will Romney exploit the same ‘facts’ Ryan did in the biggest speech of his life?”

From the Associated Press:

“Romney’s deficit vow is shallow”

From the Washington Post:

“Romney’s rushed, muddled speech”

From Vanity Fair:

“Mitt Romney’s best-yet speech is (finally) heartfelt”

There are news outlet attacks on both sides of the aisle, and these are only some of the most recent examples.  But after seeing some of these latest headlines, you can’t help but wonder — when did sarcasm and personal attacks become news?  When did the author’s opinions become bigger than the story?  What happened to reporting the who, what, where, when, why — and leaving it at that?

 

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