Sunday, July 19, 2009

"...and that's the way it's ALWAYS been..."

Oh, man, this is rich.
I saw this essay from the Associated Press, and I just had to shake my head, for more reasons than one...

...Barely a generation has passed since Walter Cronkite disappeared from our evenings. But the notion of one man — a single, authoritative, empathetic man, morally reassuring and mild of temper — wrapping up the world after dinner for America seems incalculably quaint in the technological coliseum that is 21st-century communications.

We are now confronted with a rushing, 24-hour river of information, much of it chaotic and raw, with no one to shepherd us through it.
Today's model works more like this: Everyone vies to get his personalized, customized, agenda-driven version of "that's the way it is" enshrined in the cultural canon. We shout, cajole, maneuver, horse-trade. We demonize the opposition. We brand ideas as products and send them on their way, ready to do battle in the marketplace.
The coliseum is always open for business. If you've got a TV or a laptop, you're plugged in to the whole planet and can have your say. No one person can speak for us all — we don't even pretend that's the case anymore — and those who tried would be put in their places as fast as you can say Edward R. Murrow.
That can be a glorious expression of democracy, or it can lead, as it did Saturday morning, to the most e-mailed story on Yahoo! News being the one about the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile crashing into a house in Wisconsin. Democracy has a way of being quite democratic.

Oh my gosh, where does one even start with this line of crap? "No one to shepherd us" through the news to determine what's legit and what isn't? Who the hell do these people think they are? Do they think we're not smart enough to figure it out on our own? How ironic that a journalist would write something like this, as there are so many of them who know so little past the craft of journalism itself and are thus, shall we say, not really qualified themselves to "shepherd" anyone through anything.
And "agenda-driven"? I honestly don't believe anyone from a national media organization has any business whatsoever lamenting this, as they're the ones who have gotten the media to this point. How else to explain, for example, the fact that the go-to people for guns are people who would have to think about the question when you asked them which end the bullet came out of? "Agenda-driven"? TV news didn't have an agenda? I find this fatuous in the extreme, considering the fact that the anchors had less than 30 minutes every night to deliver the news. When you have those kinds of constraint forced on you, you almost HAVE to have an agenda because there's no way to deliver it all. What exactly were their qualifications to make that judgment call? Let alone, "speak for us all."
As for that most-emailed story the Associated Press journalist mentioned...that came from one of his fellow AP scribes. One wonders how he missed the irony.