Sunday, September 28, 2008

So, whatever happened to Sarah Palin?

I haven’t seen much of her in the news of late. Of course, I suppose that is to be expected, given the “mushroom cloud” hanging over our economy, the careening, out of control McCain campaign and then the presidential debate. She’s sort of been pushed out of the news cycle. I imagine she will be right back in, however, with the vice-presidential debate coming up. I am still sort of wondering if she is actually going to show up, or if they aren’t going to try to find a way to get her out of it. I am also wondering how hard Biden is going to be hitting her. There’s probably this Democratic “nice-guy” ethos that is still there. Can’t be seen being harsh with a lady, now can we? Especially a purty one.

But this isn’t really what I was thinking about this morning. I was more contemplating the psychotic nature of our news media. We lurch from subject to subject, in search of the next “high”. And it has to be bigger and better than the last high. That might not be so bad, except fo the fact that the last big story gets completely forgotten (e.g., Sarah Palin this week) when the next one comes up. Watching our press coverage is like watching a pack of frenetic chipmunks on a collective sugar high, bouncing off the walls, trying to keep up with each other.

We really have no public discourse these days, other than perhaps a few places like NPR or the News Hour on PBS. There doesn’t seem to be any measured, calm investigation of news stories, and there certainly isn’t much of a follow up. Of course, everyone really knows this already. I am hardly making earth-shattering observations here. But I can’t help but wonder where this is all going. If we cannot have seen the present situation from maybe 25 years ago, we certainly cannot tell where we might be in another 25 years. And that scares me.

How our press covers the news does no one any service, in my mind, except for their Lords and Masters that demand a high rate of return on their investments. News departments are seen as being no different than any other business, like Disneyland, a fast food chain or a manufacturer of airplane parts. There really isn’t much of a concern for keeping the public informed. In fact, in many cases, I firmly believe that exactly the opposite is desired by the mega-corporations that own the news departments. I’ve written about this several times, such as here, here, here and here. Who knows what this all might look like in 25 years? We can speculate, but no one really has the slightest clue as to where this might end up. But I have a big-time suspicion that it isn’t going to be anything that has to do with keeping the public informed of what is really going on.

UPDATE: Good link here! Sometimes reporters and columnists (in this case, Frank Rich of the NYT) are paying attention and reporting on the truth.

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