Monday, December 01, 2014

Closing the Newsroom

I am a big fan of the HBO show "The Newsroom," which is ending with a six-episode third season. Two episodes are left, and then this high-end production of quality and intelligent writing will be gone.

The show makes me cry frequently. Not with every episode, but with many of them. Last night's show made me so tense that every nerve in my body hurt.

This season the show has covered many things, but at its heart it is exploring the loss of true journalistic integrity, lack of ethics, and the rise of the "citizen journalist," wherein the audience becomes the writers and the content providers, for no pay, of course, with the news media winning by becoming profitable through advertising because it has a big audience of morons.

The real losers? Everybody. Everyone who values truth and morality, who doesn't believe that what the majority thinks is always right, and those who think that opinion is not the same thing as reality. Which should be every thinking person on the planet.

The losers are people who live outside of the bubbles, those who seek authenticity, not fairy tales, and those who desire genuine facts and not mob rule. If you're just along for the ride, trying to get your piece of gold so you can hoard it along with your guns, then you're not watching this show or paying attention to reality, anyway. You may as well move along.

Unfortunately, this is what happens when money becomes king and god, which is where we are today. We are here because the bean counters took over and news media became a fountain of dollars instead of seedbeds of ethical journalism, as they should have been.

Of course the media has always been tainted. Yellow journalism has been around for centuries. But at one time - maybe about the time Bob Woodward ratted out Nixon - it seemed like journalism was about justice and reality. There was some honor in the title of journalist.
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I have watched in horror as the media has sold out to the money gods, one by one, all the way down to the smallest newspaper. I have watched in terror as the governments, all the way to the local school board and the smallest town council, have taken advantage of the lack of media oversight to move forward with projects about which their citizens are and forever will remain clueless. And generally, so long as their taxes don't increase, the citizens don't care.

It's a free-for-all time for those in power. They must clink their wine glasses nightly, saluting their great victory, as the masses stare dumbly at their cell phones, twittering away about the things of which they know nothing.

The papers that still exist, what few there are, no longer are part of the conversation. They have made themselves irrelevant. Governments are no longer scared of local newspapers because they know no one reads them. Or at least, not anyone who counts in their eyes. And the people who count are the corporate owners, not the citizens who elected the government officials in the first place.

Television media coverage may be seen by more people, but it is done in three-minute sound-bytes. Who can do in-depth reporting for a three-minute segment? Shows like 60 Minutes lost their relevancy a decade ago; I don't even know why it is still on. We are so inundated with crap from the internet, with BS streaming across our phones, that we have no way of differentiating real news from fake, which is why ironic articles from The Onion and other fake stories frequently find their way into the national conversation.

So I mourn the closing of the newsroom. I mourn the loss of true journalism, the death of the Fourth Estate, and ultimately the demise of democracy. As the plutocracy and the oligarchy complete their take over, one day people will look back and say, wasn't there a time when we had truth? Wasn't there a time when I, as a citizen of this country - of this world - actually mattered? Wasn't there a time when I as a human being was more important than some trinket on a shelf?

We will look back, and we will lament. And we will move forward, crawling like Gollum in the darkness, sending ourselves half-naked into the world we have created, this miasma of lies and deceit, this cesspool of advertising and creeping classism and division, because ultimately, in the end, what else can we do?

6 comments:

  1. I really don't know where we can get truthful news anymore. Everything on FB is rhetoric when it comes to politics, and people make constant noise about hating this, disliking that, calling the President an idiot and jumping on the bandwagon of their political persuasion, siding with friends. Idiots. Every last one of them. They don't check facts, just post, and repost, share, like... it's all a cesspool. Most people don't know the truth but would rather see their own words on FB or any other social media so all of their likewise thinking friends will nod their heads in agreement. I laugh at them because to be honest.... they are clueless and don't care about checking the facts, as is the way it is with most U.S citizens. I want to be a fly on the wall after I am dead and gone if only to see how it all comes down because they have NO idea what they HAVE and ARE letting slip away. They are enslaved to this New World Order as are their children. Hope they are happy making minimum wage and paying high rents because they, unlike our generation, will never be able to afford to buy a house and to be honest.... I don't think they even care.

    Now off I go to Wal-Mart to shop for more trinkets and junk made by underpaid overseas laborers with all profits going into the hands of Trillionaires who don't give a crap about us. All you and I can do, Anita, is live our lives out to the end and let the idiots of the world fend for themselves. I am much too old and tired to fight the fight anymore.

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  2. Excellent post! I too mourn the death of real news reporting.

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  3. This would make a good commentary for newspapers. I've seen clips and want to watch The Newsroom but don't know where to get it. We can access Netflix but they don't seem to carry it and we only have network tv. Maybe I'll try the library. Any ideas?

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  4. So true! It's impossible to find unbiased news these days. Money rules and there's no place for truth.

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  5. I agree with you - again. You are so right in all you say.

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  6. I loved this entry. I have been a big fan of "The Newsroom," but have not seen any of this season because I am not home, and my cousin doesn't get HBO. I plan to catch up this week, OnDemand. I am sorry to see the show end, but it seems that its demise mirrors the demise of ethical journalism!

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