It is getting a little bit too annoying, really. When we are in a societal calamity. The EU is in real economic trouble. America’s economy is heading in the wrong direction again. The Middle East is still in chaos. There are problems that are everywhere. The vote on Pebble Mine is just around the corner. The Alaskan economy isn’t all that great right now either. All of this is going on, and what does the media see fit to either have as “Breaking News” or as the “Top Story” is the story of Amanda Knox coming back to America.
The story goes that there is a girl named Amanda Knox. She was an exchange student in Italy. Her roommate, Meredith Kercher, was found with her throat slit. Knox and her boyfriend at the time, were charged and found guilty for the crime. That was four years ago. The rest is history, until recently. The verdict of her appeal acquitted her, and now she has returned home. And what has the news seen fit to do – talk about it to death! I am starting to agree with Jon Stewart about what 24-hour news networks are designed to do –
24 hour news networks are built for one thing, and that’s 9/11, and the type of gigantic news event that the type of apparatus that exists in this building and exists at the other 24-hour are perfectly suited to cover. In the absence of that, they’re not just gonna say, ‘there’s not that much that’s urgent or important or conflicted happening today, so we are going to gin up, we are going to bring forth more conflict and more sensationalism because we want you to continue watching us 24 hours a day, seven days a week, even when the news doesn’t necessarily warrant that type of behavior.'”
Really, this whole event how shined a spotlight, to me anyway, of something that really does need to be examined in the world of professional journalism – where the priorities are. Stewart is absolutely right. These networks won’t just admit that they don’t have anything that is worthwhile to talk about. Thankfully, NPR, PBS, BBC, and the alternative media sources are doing the smart thing and giving this issue the attention that it deserves. But really, when one examines this issue critically, it has to be pointed out that what does this matter?
What possibly contributions does this event give society. What’s more, why does everybody care so much? There is a greater societal problem that is displayed here – that the people of this country are starting to look less like an informed populace and more like Mike Judge’s creation, Idiocrisy. When one examines what gets in the news anymore, and where the people tend to focus their attention, it is easy to see why the socially aware are starting to lose hope in the human race and their ability to make any productive change anymore. This is not a key issue in this debate. In fact, Amanda Knox is nothing more than a symptom, or even less than that, but a skin mark, on the problem that is the massive ball of corpses that is America and the priorities that this country has. She is just a sign of what is to come in the media that has grown up around the corporations of this country.
Fox News may be the great white whale of journalism, but MSNBC and CNN are not innocent of what plagues Fox News – bad journalism that is intentionally made to seem much more important than it actually is. Does anybody remember the Casey Anthony trial? Or maybe you remember the example that Stewart gave in his article above, about how there was the press conference after Anthony Weiner was found out for having shown his weiner to a girl. How when Pelosi said that she wasn’t going to talk about Weiner, but rather about jobs and the economy, everybody left. These are just a few of the many examples of how these news networks are all completely ignoring the important issues.
There is another issue that seems to have been completely ignored by the media – Rick Perry and his massive political project/blunder – the Trans-Texas Corridor. Put simply, it was a giant complex that was intended to route all major traffic to heavy population centers of Texas. Costly, disruptive to private property, and just a giant waste, not to mention a very big bit of ugly business. While it looks like Perry is losing some of the clout that he had, this issue has not been raised at all in any significant way.
See, this is the problem with the news – they seem to have a hard time reporting the news. They seem to have it all mixed up that when you are charged with reporting the news to people, which means things that are of consequence happening in the local, state, national, or worldwide level. Something like this Corridor would be a huge thing to talk about, especially with a candidate who bashes the federal government, but then goes around and does things like this. Call it what you like, Perry, but government by any other name is still government. That goes for the Ron Paul fans too.
But there is hope on the horizon. The alternative media seems to be gaining traction. More and more people are seeking out places where they can get the news and not have it be a corporate machine. It used to be that just the eggheads were watching shows like FRONTLINE and listening to NPR. It used to be that the corporate machine believed that nobody cared what those on the internet had to say. But that isn’t true, not anymore. Now, with YouTube, journalists having blogs, and several other blogs and vlogs being watched, the world of social commentary and journalism is growing. This is a good thing.
In a world where the economy is heading in the wrong direction again, we need to have some voices who are above the sensationalist maw and are able to take the bag of snakes and lay them out straight.