I started to respond to Ken’s comment on my Book Burning post and realized that I was frantically typing my way into a fourth paragraph and not yet finished when I also realized that this is MY blog and I could cut my rantings from the comment box and paste it into its own blog posting. You’ve been warned…I’m on a bit of a rampage.
It’s easy to get frustrated with “the press” for their “bias” and all that. In my opinion, most of the time when we do that we are pointing our fingers in the wrong directions.
Most journalists are intent on telling the stories of what is going on in the world to as many as will listen/read so that we can all be more informed and collectively make better decisions. Journalists generally desire to contribute to the building of a strong society. They believe that the right of free press is also a responsibility to serve as part of a complex system of checks and balances that keep us collectively moving toward better.
As our culture has morphed and our appetite for news has been overtaken by our appetite for sensational entertainment, we have become like children who give up fruits and vegetables for candy and ice cream. Not only are we malnourished, but we constantly crave more of what is not good for us and are running about demanding it with a sugar buzz that has us a bit off our game.
Add to that an economy makes covering the costs of getting and distributing the news nearly impossible to balance with income generated by advertising and the business of “news” has to rely on what the appetites of their paying customers demand: sensational entertainment.
I know that most human beings have opinions and therefore have biases. I also know that professional journalists try to see beyond those biases — some are more successful than others. The ones who become journalistic rock-stars, unfortunately, are often the ones who use their biases to rile up the masses for or against something. Anything. This pays the bills because we are so willing to pay for a good riling.
At least that’s how I see it.
And let me publicly own my bias on this subject as one who studied journalism and a bit of 1st Amendment Law. I may also be a part-time idealist.