Monday, August 3, 2009

This is not news

It may be kind of obvious, but the so-called “news” shows on TV now are not news. That is, they do not present anything that could be considered “news”. They present propaganda.

Now, everyone has a viewpoint. So anything that anyone says is almost always slanted in some way. Many wear their views on their sleeves. Beck, O’Reilly, Olbermann, Limbaugh, Lehrer, etc. These people obviously have an agenda, and in general it is obvious. Less obvious are the agendas of the major network’s news shows. But rest assured, it’s there, shown in the stories they show, the ones they don’t, and the way the present the ones they do show.

There’s only so much time on a news show, generally a half-an-hour to an hour. So much happens, they have to decide what stories and events they will cover, and how much time to devote to each. And, since they want people to watch their program, they have to pander to the audience. Will the audience care more about story A or B?

Sometimes there are bigger things at stake. Even if the ratings are up, a story might be hurting someone higher up the chain. The corporation controls much of what “news” anchors say. If the people signing your paycheck don’t like something, you will not go too far off script.

Here is a good example of that. If you watch Olbermann and/or O’Reilly, you may have noticed that since the beginning of June, they are no longer taking pot-shots at each other. This is due to an agreement between the CEOs of General Electric and New Corporation. The “feud” between Olbermann and O’Reilly, while good for their individual shows, was hurting the owning corporations. You can read about this on Salon’s Gleen Greenwald’s column here.

The message here is clear: You can not trust the news. Any of it. It is all propaganda and spin. You can’t even watch two different shows and try to split the difference anymore. You have to now realize that anything you see on TV is just a show, despite whatever the claim is in the intro. It is meant to entertain you, not inform you. There is no truth anymore. There is no news. Even this is not news.