Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Decline of Journalism: Reality Politics For Entertainment and Profit

Good Day World!

I use to be proud of being a journalist.

As an editor, and publisher of newspapers, I always strived for balanced reporting. And the truth.

But when I look at the state of journalism today, I feel like my best friend died. What I see is "reality journalism." A hybrid between reality television (all media), and politics.

In this presidential election, the relationship in which the party leads and the media follows seem to have been reversed. Enter Donald Trump.

Or so says Harvard political scientist Thomas Patterson, who conducted a recent study of the precaucus, preprimary political coverage in eight major newspapers, cable stations and TV networks.

In their coverage of Trump, Patterson found, the media not only loosened the bonds of party control; they cut them altogether. As Patterson put it, "Trump is arguably the first bona fide media-created presidential nominee."

Excerpt from "How the Media Overthrew Party Politics"

What happened was the media took a minor candidate, whose only claim to massive coverage was name recognition from reality TV and his wild life, and made him a presidential contender.

Just how lopsided was the free coverage for Trump? He got 34 percent of all the GOP preprimary coverage, nearly twice as much as the next guy, Jeb Bush.

"It is no coincidence, I think, that Trump arose from reality TV and its forebears, print and television gossip, and that he has strode onto the political scene as a gremlin, basically wrecking traditional politics the way reality shows for a time attempted to wreck traditional shows. Television, especially, likes him. Networks like that he is a loose cannon, which is the very best sort of weaponry for an entertainment based on outrageousness. Whereas every other candidate is more or less predictable, Trump is wholly unpredictable." - Truthout

The mainstream media's promotion of Trump for higher ratings may turn out to be a watershed moment for politics. Reality TV meets politics and the results signal the end of civilization as we know it.

The Republican National Convention is full of controversy and is more of a tribute to Trump, his family, and friends than about selecting a candidate for the presidency. 

I'm disgusted, and disillusioned. Journalists have created a monster, and we're all going to pay if Trump is elected.

Time for me to walk on down the road...

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