Saturday, 23 July 2005

Media Musings

Nancy Grace, a CNN anchor on legal affairs issues, comes across to me as a shrieking, screeching, loud-mouthed ambulance-chaser. Her style is unlike that of an investigative reporter; instead, she seems to be proud to be an opinionated bitch who will brook no babble about anyone's point of view but her own. When compared to people on CNN who are actually journalists, she seems to be a parody of journalism. How odd that CNN, which prides itself on being an unbiased source of news, would hire her. Maybe fair and balanced isn't any more important to CNN than it is to FOX News.

On the other hand, Jim Lehrer of PBS is one of the most even-handed anchors on any news program. I sometimes find myself wishing he would play hard-ball with some of the right-wing fruitcakes he interviews, but then realize I want him to be fair and unbiased with even the nut-cases of the outter-reaches of Republicanism.

It's interesting that PBS and NPR, which are so often accused of liberal bias, seem to be so conscious of their journalistic tell both sides of virtually every story...but most other networks appear to be paid media outlets for partisan politics.

I'm just as repulsed by media that serves as apologists for politicians whose views are closer to mine than today's Republican party. Media should no more rally 'round the Democratic party than it should the Republicans.

But, perhaps, I'm stuck in a time when "the media" was easy to identify. Today, it's hard to say "the media" is failing to ask the hard questions because we don't always know who the media is. Is it ABC, CBS, NPR, FOX, NBC, New York Times, Washington Post, etc.? Or is it anyone with access to television broadcast rights, access to a printing press, or access to the Internet? When the definition broadens, it's easy to see that competition may be forcing what I refer to as "main stream media" to start taking shortcuts or to lower its standards, simply to compete for audience.

And this takes me to the question of who is the media and what responsibilities does the media have to the public at large? I do not have all the answers. I have plenty of opinions, though, and I'll share those, by and by.

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