Monday, May 11, 2009

The Stupid Chamber

Among progressives, which I proudly am, a lot of attention and ire gets focused on the extreme right-wing media and their completely fucked-up agenda. I'm talking about your FOX News, WorldNetDaily and Human Events of the world. We spend a lot of our time attacking and exposing their lies, and rightly so. But I really don't think they are the most dangerous part of the media.

The right-wing whack-a-doodles in the general public will continue to believe their crazy nonsense whether there is a FOX News or not. My brother isn't going to suddenly see the light on socialized health care (he says that all the rich people in England come here for their health care, despite, you know, the facts) if Bill O'Reilly no longer has a platform for his bloviating every night. It's called the echo chamber for a reason. My dumb ass born-again sibling would still be an uninformed dunderhead, he just wouldn't have a TV legitimizing his screwed up points of view.

No, I think the most dangerous thing about the media today is the so-called "news" that gets reported in what is supposed to be the "legitimate" media. CNN is often put forward (often by themselves) as the centrist or "slightly left-leaning" (which is really laughable knowing they have Lou Dobbs) 24-hour news network. I could argue against these claims all day long, but that's not the real issue.

No, it is that the media is completely dumbed down and distracting the moron masses from the real important stuff of the day. We see stories about the president ordering a hamburger, live as it happens and called "breaking news." I imagine this whole week we will be enduring a whole lot of nonsense about Wanda Sykes being offensive or not. We already seem to be moving beyond the info-tainment we've had for several years and dropping the info altogether.

Case in point. I was flipping through the channels last week or so and I came across Larry King. I despise Larry King, it is hard for me to believe that anybody likes Larry King and can stand to watch him. I can feel my IQ dropping in just a few minutes of his show. He's like the 24-hour news version of Saved By The Bell. Even though I know better, when I come across him I seem to not be able to turn away from the intellectual car accident on my screen. (Which is also just like Saved By The Bell.)

On this particular episode, Larry started off the show with a short segment on the "breaking news" of the medical student who was robbing hookers in hotel rooms to feed his gambling habit and appears to have murdered one of them. And while I believe the too common violence against women should be highlighted in the media, this was just sensationalistic nonsense that involved Larry having on as guest some "friends" of the accused. These friends turned out to be a couple of guys who maybe sat beside him in a lab one time and most of the exchanges involved Larry asking them if they knew he was crazy back then. It reminded me a lot of the old SNL sketch when Buckwheat got shot. (You know the one. "Did you think he's shoot Buckwheat?" "Oh sure, it's all he ever talked about.")

This was just a prelude. That was only the quick, news of the day, put together segment because he guy just got arrested. No, when Larry went to commercial he announced that he'd be "right back with Perez Hilton and Dennis Prager debating Miss California.

Seriously. Perez Hilton, Dennis Prager and Miss California. It sounded like the Jeopardy answer to the question, "which three people would you most like to see knee-capped in the most painful way imaginable?"

How does this crap make it on to TV at all, much less a supposed "news" channel?

No my friends, the right-wing propaganda machine is the least of our problems as I see it. The mindless drivel that comes from the mainstream media today that is there to sell us crap and make our big concern be whether or not our cell phone makes our toast (props to George Carlin) is destroying us much more than Hannity ever could.

Not that Hannity's not trying to catch up.


(S)wine said...

i'm so glad we cut cable a couple of months ago. we're not privy to any of the shit anymore. King is famous for f-ing up his guests' names; i once watched him interview NIcole Simpson's sister, Denise, and THREE times, coming back from break he called her Nicole. He also gets his facts so mixed up, it's hilarious. I have friends who worked his show for years and got all the off-air scoop. also, have you heard Stern and his cronies make fun of him? brilliant stuff. in any case, moving to Twitter and following outlets like Al Jazeera and Reuters and AFP or Itar-Tass, has sort of filtered out the shit they use to fill time now on the 24/7 cycle. welcome back, by the way.

admiralmpj said...

But things that are defined as the alternative, are not necessarily better.

I still remember, a nominally fine website, who at one point, employed a guy named Jason Leopold as a Senior Editor and Reporter who famously broke a story saying that "Karl Rove had been indicted" in the Valerie Plame affair:

One problem...and I think you can guess what it is.

This is only a single example, but there are others.

No one has a monopoly on the truth. No one is going to get it right all the time. And more to the point, a profit-motive IS going to affect how you cover some stories, or even if you decide to cover them at all.

The only truly f'ed up thing is relying on a single source for your News. If all you're watching is CNN (or God forbid, Fox), you kinda deserve what you get. But if you're watching CNN, you read what they say at WaPo, TPM, HuffPo, and maybe foreign sources like the BBC or the Guardian (there are more, but I'm listing who I use), if you take that time, if you get multiple perspectives, the MSM can do what it wants. Hell, you'll be correcting them.

(S)wine said...

exactly my point w/Twitter where I have all these angles to read. but even if you bounce around and pause on the usual 24/7s they fill the air (because they have to, and because they have it to fill) with shite, mostly.

we get these preposterous snippets of criticism of Michelle's arms or dress or whatever, only via the Daily Show. my Twitter feed is basically a running newswire.