Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Is it any wonder we don't trust the media...

...when stories like this continue to come out? I won't even go into my problems with the New York Times. You know, it's truly a sad picture of the day when we actually have to read news about the news (and how screwed up it is). While I'm mentioning the media, can I vent on some other issues?

Why is it we must have news coverage 24/7? Is relevant "news" really happening 24/7? NO! So what happens? Well, either 1) we have the same real story regurgitated a million times over by four news stations, or 2) we have some of the most ridiculous and irrelevant stories covered and labelled "news". Somehow, someway, the stories also always manage to be "breaking" news, even if they've been reported 50 times already! Every report has to have a thrill factor and a fresh factor, because any other way would just bore the viewer audience, right?

But positive exageration isn't all that happens. We also need to consider the many stories that are downplayed by the media, simply because they're viewed as unimportant--"un-newsworthy"--or even [gasp!] going against their own ideology! Now don't get me wrong here--I have no problem with a newspaper or newscast reporting from a certain worldview. My problem is with media folk who deny the truth because they are so obsessed with their own agenda and beliefs. That brings me to another point (get ready for a mega-semi-tangential thought here).

Perhaps our skepticism of the media is really just a symptom of the reality of the world which we live in, for all humans are fallible and must strive to overcome biases. The problem with modern culture, however, seems to be that many have seen this gloomy fact and simply given up, saying everything must therefore be biased and relative. Well folks, relativism just doesn't cut it logically (we can go into this if you'd like). In my opinion, the entire post-modern relativist culture is one of the most anti-intellectual emotionalist movements in history. Rather than reason, it's based on an emotional fear due to the ever increasing amount of knowledge and of claims to truth out there. Besides being unreasonable, the bottom line is that the relativist position lacks the virtue of courage. This is not to say that courage will lead one to a grasp of all truth by any means (one could be agnostic and still possess courage), but rather it will lead to a grasp that relativism is foolish. Oh, and let's not forget the virtue of humility too--we need that to clean sort through those unhealthy biases.

As technology improves and the flow of knowledge continues to increase with leaps and bounds, this push to simply view everything as relative will no doubt continue to thrive and spread. But let's be honest and take a stand; let's be brave and make an effort to actually pursue the truth of things. It's not easy, that's for sure; but if it's the right thing to do, then it's well worth it.

And in the process, we'll continue to unveil the lies of various groups of the media, exposing them for what they really are.

(See, I brought it all back together, sort of. I apologize, but my brains is kind of "blah, blah, blah" right now.)

G.K. Chesterton, a journalist his entire lifetime, had a lot to say about the business. Here are a couple of blips:

"Modern man is staggering and losing his balance because he is being pelted with little pieces of alleged fact which are native to the newspapers; and, if they turn out not to be facts, that is still more native to newspapers." - ILN, 4/7/23

"Journalism is popular, but it is popular mainly as fiction. Life is one world, and life seen in the newspapers is another."

If you're really craving more, check out "The Real Journalist" or "The Mildness of the Yellow Press".


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