Opinion/Editorial

DOWN TO THE WIRE

 

The mass media is out of control, and quite possibly, not able to ever again draw itself back to presenting any set of facts again, unless slipped, shaped, and reformed to conform to a belief system instead of a truthful reality set and occurring before them. The New York Times, supposedly a liberal newspaper, continues to run stories, as do almost all other mass media entities, about the dividing country being at odds, nearly equally, between “Trump supporters” and “Antifa, looters, demonstrators, and protestors.” The conservatives, by and large, and the liberals, by and large, have been assigned entirely different descriptors.

The mass media, at one time, much earlier in its newspaper and then television iterations, was more a collection of fact-based stories than directives to accomplish changes in social behavior. The mass media is going to be primary in controlling the message and directing just how the electoral college will determine who is to be the next president. The Internet was born not long ago, but its ability to be more of a two-way and wide-open communications system has changed the playing field. Two-way communications have allowed tons of data to reach others without the “filtration” that takes place in normal mass media. However, with the open contributions, so far allowed on the Internet, the rush of spurious, inaccurate, or simply made up data has emerged as a limiter in using this platform for real communications. It has also allowed those who might have the most shrill, fanatical, and damaging presentations to assume positions of importance.

There is no ability of the general public to “have a piece of the voice” in either the newspaper field or on television. Most newspapers don’t even have a comment section and toss out most letters to the editor. The internet is different, and Donald Trump has become a master of using that internet, through the device of an online social site called Twitter, to reach out directly to the American public. He has chosen to do so, quite obviously, more as an entertainment and “reality television” presenter rather than that of a direct speaking leader of the most successful nation on the earth. The questions about how he came to choose this manner of communicating with the public (also limited to a one-way methodology by controlling his feed) will not likely be known for many years. The effect of this, outside of his actions and policies, has been to sew a sort of continuous sense of raucous expectation on the part of the public. News channels are preferred today more than entertainment or drama channels.

That was not always the case. The news has become a form of entertainment, and the voracious appetite of the public must be fed with ever more dramatic entertainment. Ann Coulter pioneered this approach, followed by Bachmann, and then Sara Palin. It’s not entirely new, but the practice has never been attempted by a sitting president and certainly never considered or condoned by a waiting public.  There may be no turning back from this media sell out, and it did sell out.

When Moonves was president of CBS, before he left due to an alleged sex scandal, he stated: “This new reality television news may be bad for the country but it sure is great for CBS. I’m going with it.”  That Mr. Moonves left CBS might be a small godsend, but that anyone at that level in the media could say something so unpatriotic and commercially self-serving says a bit about a country that seems to put little emphasis on real honor, real heroism, true patriotism, and the simple telling of the truth whenever and wherever possible.

~~ James Strauss

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