Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Today;s MOZEN: Stop Blaming the Media

Words and photo by F LoBuono
The media, the blanket term we use for the providers of information (at least that's what we hope they do), has taken its fair share of abuse these days. Some of it is warranted. Much of it is not. It's easy to blame the media for all the ills of the world. It's right in front of us in so many forms each and every day making it "accessible" for criticism.

When it's justified, I encourage critical review of the media. It DOES help to keep us honest. However, so much blame is affixed to us that is simply nonsense.

It is true, and disappointing to me, that the media, i.e. "the news" has become inundated with stories and features that can be seen as less than newsworthy. In addition to the hard news reported on a daily basis, local news is filled with gossip and what we in the business call "infotainment". An "Eye on Entertainment" report is included in virtually every nightly local newscast. However, people should keep in mind that news outlets air these stories in response to viewers' demands for MORE entertainment-like features. None of these decisions are made in a vacuum. Focus groups conducted by the industry consistently demonstrate what the public wants - entertainment.

So, in a sense, you are getting what you asked for.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the media, i.e. the News, is a BUSINESS. Nationally, it is a multi-billion dollar industry that employees tens of thousands of people. And, by the nature of ALL business positive cash flow is essential. It was not always this way. For years, news was "immune" to the rigors of profit and loss. But, those days are long gone. Profit rules. Therefore, now there is pressure to produce not only for content, but for money. This is one of the sad reasons that Donald Trump received so much news coverage during the Presidential campaign. In a classic case of Catch 22, it was no accident that the higher he drove the ratings, the more coverage he got.

Still, at least by my experience, the news outlets that I have worked for have ALWAYS functioned with the highest integrity. I have witnessed, on a daily basis, journalists who work their butts off to tell honest, informative, and balanced stories. If others have experienced otherwise, let them speak up and demonstrate how. Are they always right? Of course not! But, are they correct far more often than wrong? Absolutely.

Besides many people blame the news for the ills of society simply because they expect it to always be there and to always be perfect. Of course, that's impossible. And, furthermore, most people seem to be lazy when it comes to acquiring information. Instead of seeking the truth themselves through multiple sources (as a GOOD journalist does) they prefer to be spoon fed their information by a third party. In other words, it's EASY to BLAME. It's HARDER to KNOW.

There is no excuse. So, stop the blame game. The truth is there for the taking. You just need to make the effort.

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