Broadcast news organizations, for the most part, no longer deserve to be thought of as news organizations at all. Owned by entertainment conglomerates, their offerings resemble something much closer to “reality” TV, than what we once thought of as objective reporting. It is a particularly sad state of affairs for this nation when celebrity trials (or publicity stunts, as the case may be) dominate the news. Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Martha Stewart, and Kobe Bryant, no matter how twisted, sick, or misguided they may be, are distractions. Our fascination with celebrity is a distraction, and in my view, a dangerous one.
Right now, the US government is conducting a war in Afghanistan, one in Iraq, and several more at home. Haiti and Australia are experiencing riots. A Russian candidate for President went missing for five days. American jobs are being shipped overseas, poverty is on the rise, education is on the decline, civil liberties and the environment are under attack…I could go on at length here listing real news items in need of in-depth media coverage. Gay marriage and Bush’s National Guard service record are more distractions. Our country is at war under false pretenses. Our military is over-extended and being blatantly abused for corporate gain. And no one seems to care. Well, I care. If you care, it’s time to become a dedicated media activist, peace activist, environmentalist, and humanitarian.
To get a better grip on why the media is so out of touch with reality, Noam Chomsky can be of great service. I also recommend the documentary, Manufacturing Consent, about Chomsky and his critical work.