The question is, does news still exist? I don’t know. For the news to work, that is, news that purports to generate discussion or analysis, such as Nightline (no need to link to that) or Hardball (no need to link to that either) the screen needs to be broken into two section, one for column A and one for column B.
Pick an issue: say its politicians who refuse to give testimony under oath. Who’d want to do that anyway? Once the issue is determined, then the A and B columns need to be filled from the A and B pool so that a head can be dropped into the prefab columns. Today, news is considered simply quoting what people who find their way into the news say.
Today A said this. B responded this way. We’re trying to figure out to whom we should give more quotetime. Obviously, that would be the White House, because, well, it is painted white after all.
My wife insists, and I agree, that this sort of technique demands no thought from the principles involved. A can simply respond from the script that’s been flying around, as can B. There’s the republican script; there’s the one for the democrats. No need for an actual expert anymore. All A or B have to do is maintain script-composure. Any sort of independent thought could really give the anchor a start, i.e., he or she would have to come up with an actual thought in response to either A or B.
Disillusioned, are we?
The answer lies in weblogs, and the public; the only ones willing to bite into the news and chew on it a bit.
Mrs. E. is right, and I had no doubt you would agree. But news, that is, “new information”, must start somewhere, whether eyewitness or from the horse’s mouth–neither of which are completely reliable. With each generation, it changes as in Rockwell’s famous illustration. But we need take the seed of truth, and then examine it from every angle. Weblogs express opinion only–not truth nor dependable fact, and links back to the sources are necessary to establish the chain of information. But has it ever been a different story (pun intended) from when news travelled by horse? We simply are not smart enough to be ourselves, but must pretend to spout off as knowledge someone else’s thoughts in news media. And look elsewhere for both the expert and the comman man’s argument.
You bring up an interesting question about the weblog about which I have a question, concerning “opinion” logs/research logs are different. Don’t weblogs suffer in general from the Oprah effect (could also be called the Nightline Effect or the Limbaugh Effect: tomorrow’s program is a must see (or hear), but once it’s over, it’s forgotten. The suffering can be characterized as permanent impermanency.
I don’t necessarily agree (!), at least as a generalization. News becomes old hat the day after, by its nature. Unless, of course, it is annoyingly ongoing like a Michael or a Janet Jackson, or the war. Scholars, on the other hand, peruse old stuff that once was history, “old news” and that is enduring. The opportunities that weblogs, or the internet itself, allows, is diversity of opinion, and in reporting facts, confirmation by source credibility and matching/conflicting story. Flick off the television, cancel the newspaper, research and read and gather from a larger pool available, and since weblogs are free, there’s no one paid to say what people want to hear, or what’s filtered and repeated to them.