Saturday, August 14, 2010

Fish wrap or wallpaper; you decide

It seems that Americans have a view of their media that is consistent with their views of Congress or Big Business.

A recent Gallup poll shows "near-record-low confidence" in newspapers and television news, with no more than 25 percent of Americans saying they have a "great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in either.

According to Gallup, "these views have hardly budged since falling more than 10 percentage points from 2003-2007."

Isn't that special.

The media, newspapers and Fox News in particular, have succeeded in poisoning the public appetite for government, and for themselves.

What goes around, comes around.

Your local TV news succeeds in giving viewers police chases, fires, accidents and crime. Those are the bread-and-butter elements of TV news, so they don't really matter in the overall perspective of community information or what's considered "local news media." And, ironically, more people than ever are turning to television to find out what's going on their communities and TV stations are the least equipped to know what's going on in their communities.

Newspapers represent their communities better than television does. Newspapers devote far more resources, such as reporters and editors, than TV does to any local community.

What the masses don't realize is that, outside the New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times, the vast majority of newspapers represent the conservative agenda in America.

And, this is to be expected. Most Americans, afterall, are conservative in how they spend their money and support their local churches, synagogues, stakes, mosques, temples, etc.

That doesn't mean that most Americans are "conservative" in the social realm from abortion to immigration to gay rights or from tattoos to piercings to divorce.

Newspapers bend over backwards to please the business/development interests of their communities even when those interests are to the detriment of the overall health of their communities.

So, when communities falter, as they are doing in this Great Recession, citizens do not look to newspapers for solutions because they know newspapers represent the business/development interests of the community and not the overall health of their community.

Until newspapers are willing to look out for what's best for their communities, and not merely what is best for a handful of business or developments interests, they will continue to see confidence in them wane along with the number of subscribers.

These conservative newspapers, ironically, have been hurt by the presence of ultra-conservative Fox News, which has eroded whatever confidence citizens had in their local media.

Fox News has redefined journalism to mere opinion. And, whoever has the most persuasive opinion, regardless of any known facts, rules the ratings.

So, Americans have less confidence in their media today because they believe that it is mere opinion and not "just the facts, ma'am."

Opinions are worth less than a dime a dozen.

That is why confidence in news media is at such a low ebb.

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