I don’t watch Sean Hannity. I don’t pay attention to Bill O’Reilly either. And, Tucker Carlson? Who’s he?
Before you think I’m unfairly denouncing only right-wing reporters, I should mention that I don’t watch Rachel Maddow or Chris Matthews either. In fact, I have rarely watched a network news broadcast since Dan Rather left CBS.
I don’t watch local news either.
So, I’m going to pick on Tucker Carlson for a moment. Apparently, he posted a five year old video of a then Senator Obama. Mr. Carlson wants us to believe that President Obama is a racist, according to Howard Kurtz on page 5 of this week’s Newsweek. Kurtz insists that there’s nothing to this video. Kurtz, in the last line, makes the point “that the two universes [right and left America] cannot even agree on what those fundamental facts are.” Take the time to read Kurtz’s article, it’s interesting.
I think Mr. Carlson’s posting of this video and Sean Hannity’s commenting on it is just one more sensational news that we see everywhere nowadays. It reminds me of “Citizen Kane” when Orson Welles says, “You give me the pictures and I’ll give you the war.”
Come to think of it, I really shouldn’t say nowadays. The news has always been a business. It’s nice to think that newspapers covered news stories out of a sense of duty, but they need to make money and sensational headlines sold newspapers then and they create high ratings now.
Think about the last big storm that hit your local area. It was called the storm of the year, wasn’t it? Or, how about the pink slime we’ve all been eating in our ground beef for years; the news stories made it sound like we’re all going to die tomorrow.
I’m not saying that these things shouldn’t be covered or they aren’t important. I’m just saying that not everything should be covered like it is the end of the world.
In the Newsweek article, Kurtz quotes Mr. Tucker as pretty much saying that if the mainstream media did it’s job, we wouldn’t need the right-wing media. And, that brings me to my next point. The only reason right-wing media exists is because it makes money. We are more divided in this country than we have been since the Civil War. There are people in this country who couldn’t find a fact if it fell on them. They don’t want serious debate, they want someone to tell them just what they want to hear and they want to hear that President Obama is the worse President ever. They want to hear that what they believe is right and true and Fox News does that. The Matt Drudges of the world do that.
Quite frankly, the people who run Fox News are geniuses. They have created a money making machine that plays into the large portion of our society who believe that President Obama is a Muslim, who wasn’t born in this country. And, Fox News didn’t start there. They started at the right of center and have slowly moved further to the right. This is a group of people who can make a five year old video of the President seem like real news. They become outrage because the mainstream media doesn’t find it as compelling.
While they pander to the right and MSNBC panders to the left, the rest of the news outlets struggle to find the next big money maker. What headline is going to grab the best ratings? Those ratings turn into advertising and there’s the money in the bank.
I have been told that there was a time in our great nation when news was factual and unleaning. I wish there was a time like that now. No one trusts facts that support the view from the other side of the aisle – or that is how it seems.
There have been a rash of studies that claim that people who hold firm to a belief even when presented with the facts that disprove it are not very intelligent. I fear that there are a lot of people like that in this nation and sensational news casts aren’t helping the situation.