Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The medium and the message

"Today however, we have really made the big jump. We have left the editorial comments back in the dust. We are onto bigger and better things. Now it is 'fake news'."

In 1964, Marshall McLuhan wrote a trendy book called The Medium is the Message. One of the core tenants of the book was the way news was delivered sometimes eclipsed the news itself. McLuhan was wise beyond his years and certainly beyond his time. Oh if he could see the news today!

We are really falling down the hill quickly these days. It is bad enough that new anchors like Dan Rather has burred the line between journalism and editorial comment, we are also seeing in the print media these days also. Plus, whenever confronted by someone on the Right who is sick of editorial comment being intermixed with the news, many anchors fall back on First Amendment rights. And that is fine - then just don't call the reporting "news". Call it opinion.

Today however, we have really made the big jump. We have left editorial comments mixed in with the news back in the dust. We are now on to bigger and better things. Now we have "fake news". And what exactly is "fake news"? It is the spreading of rumor and half truth without first vetting the source. It is taking a story and putting some extra "English on the cue ball", to help the story fit a narrative. And sadly, some of the "fake news" is just pure, unadulterated fiction. Bottom line - the news media now has an approval rating lower than Congress. Some say lower than whale poop.

How do we fix this? One of my friends who does pod casting has a simple remedy - just tune out on any main stream media. It does not mean he stops learning - on the contrary, he is very informed. There is a boat load of information out in the ether-net which is valid and unblemished.

So what would cause a professional news reporter to take unblemished news and turn it into editorial? An abdication of professional responsibility and personal pride. In other words, the once great "fourth estate", our free press, has sold out.

I get a kick out of the moral outrage that Don Lemon from CNN has when accused of CNN either promulgating or spreading "fake news". Okay, maybe that is a stretch. Maybe CNN does not do "fake news". They sure as heck do biased news however. And not by just a little bit - a lot. 

Even the "fair and balanced" Fox News is not all that fair and balanced. They have a conservative tilt. MSNBC and CNN have a liberal tilt. CBS, NBC, and ABC also have a slight liberal tilt. So if you want to get true, unbiased news today - good luck with that one. 

Yes, the medium truly is the message. Way, way too much. Get used to it folks. I don't see this changing any time soon - maybe ever. The "fourth estate"? Gone. Today, we are all responsible now for finding out our own information.


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