Sunday, February 21, 2010

Why It Might Be A Good Idea To Turn Off Cable News

Ever since the Clinton impeachment saga of the late '90's, cable TV airways have offered a full menu of issue oriented news shows. What might have originally seemed like an effective vehicle for the audience to learn about complex issues of the day has instead turned into a cacophonous orgy of propaganda . Sebastian Jones exposed the insidiousness of the entire enterprise in this expose in the March 1 issue of The Nation.

Jones explains how many of the so called expert analysts brought on to address issues are really nothing more than paid mouthpieces for various corporate interests. The networks just don't bother to tell us the audience who exactly is buttering the proverbial bread for the guest experts.He goes on to point out that both sides of the ideological aisle are equal opportunity propagandists. In the end we the public lose. All too often that's been the outcome on numerous issues of the day. Jones nails it in the last paragraph of his piece:

Jay Rosen, a media critic and journalism professor at New York University, has a different take. "More disclosure is good--I'm certainly in favor of that--but why are these people on at all?" asks Rosen. "They have views and can manufacture opinions around any event at any time."
Rosen echoes something Brown mentioned to me. Watching cable news cover the 2008 election with more analysts crammed at one table than ever before--as if to ask, "How many people can we put on the set at one time?"--Brown said he was "amazed how little they had to offer." He went on, "We live in a time where there are no shortages of opinions and an incredible deficit of facts."

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