Friday, September 12, 2008

The Dumbing of America

What is going on with the mainstream television media? I’m specifically talking about ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX NETWORK. Cable is where extreme views are supposed to live. It’s disillusioning that so many people go there to get confirmation of their extreme feelings, but I’m talking about the big four. I think these guys are very responsible for swaying the public away from substantive, critical thought and toward an intellectual vacuum the like of which we’ve never seen. Wasn’t the idea of the people in the media that they would represent the best of us? Ask the questions we wish we could have asked? Help us get to the important stuff and look past the superficial?

The other day I saw the host of the big morning show bellyaching about the media being blamed for the mishandling of the electoral coverage. “What did we do?” What you did and continue to do is take complex issues and reduce them to the kind of easily digestible sloganeering we get from brand name advertisers and the candidates themselves. How many times do we have to see that stupid clip on the hockey mom/pitbull comment by Sarah Palin and have it be left at that? Is that really what we need to know? It’s reducing our grand democratic process to “apply directly to the forehead.”

It boils down to this; the news media is supposed to raise us all to a level of better understanding and informed discussion. It is not supposed to take our biggest failures as a society and reflect them back at us - is it?

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