Who Will Police the Media?
by PoliticalPyro, Sun May 25, 2008 at 09:18:42 PM EDT
In the consumer age of federally mandated regulation and transparency, no product can be released to the public without a series of intense evaluations, tests, labels, and warnings.
Make that: Almost no product.
Look on the back of a soda can, or a box of Twinkies, and you will find a federally mandated list of ingredients. In music, check out the latest releases by Lupe Fiasco or Ghostface Killah and you will see a parental advisory warning on the cover. In movies and television, look for a rating flashed before the credits. Video games are rated. Bags come with a suffocation warning. Small items are choking hazards. Coffee is hot. Don't eat the lead paint. Not intended to be a cure...
So where is the list of ingredients for the television news media? Conservative talk radio is filled with hosts who proudly admit they are entertainers or commentators. They never pretend to be journalists. In fact, they are usually the ones screaming about the likes of CNN and MSNBC hiding behind a journalistic banner.
Almost no unbiased journalism is left in television news today. Political opinions and commentaries literally overwhelm the "news" airwaves 24 hours a day. What little journalism actually gets reported is highly filtered by network CEOs with a political agenda.
What is not reported is even more disturbing. "News networks" chose to ignore the Reverend Wright story until their hand was forced sometime after the Texas and Ohio primaries and the Barack Obama-William Ayers connection was completely ignored until George Stephanopoulos brought Ayers' name up during a debate -- and the media silence is perfectly legal.
Why has the news media been given a regulatory pass?
Another question: What is the standard journalism-to-opinion ratio that a network must live up to in order to call themselves a "news network"? Arguably, the History and Discovery Channels present far more unbiased information than CNN or MSNBC, and yet they do not purport to be "news".
Maureen Dowd writes for the New York Times underneath the banner `Opinion'. There is nothing wrong or deceptive about that. I am not in favor of censorship. However, there is no `Opinion' banner that flashes across the screen before Keith Olbermann launches into his pro-Obama tirade -- or before Chris Matthews informs the world of some chills running up his leg. Why not? Are viewers expected to assume these men are merely offering an opinion, yet NOT expected to assume their cup of coffee is hot?
Americans hold the "fourth branch of government" up to a high standard. For decades, the words of Walter Cronkite or Peter Jennings were as sacred as the gospel. However, today's news media is clearly different. Manipulation of public opinion -- under the false banner of journalism -- should be monitored by strict FCC guidelines with hefty penalties. Networks should never be allowed to have this amount of power again. Those who refuse to comply with these proposed new FCC standards should be forced to call themselves `Opinion' networks...
In other words, CNN should be forced to call themselves what they really are... CON.