Tuesday, July 28, 2009
BREAKING NEWS: Journalism is Dead!
With the passing of Walter Cronkite, the most recent passing in the Summer of Death, a lot of attention (and by a lot I mean an amount so moderate it barely justifies me writing this article) has been paid to what it means to be a journalist. Not just a journalist, but a journalist of integrity. However, there is no integrity left in journalism.
The need to maintain profits grows as newspapers struggle to maintain relevance in a world dominated by the internet and fight their way through the overabundance of information that is contrasted with the public's shrinking attention span. This, among other factors, has all but completely drained journalism of any semblance of integrity. As was undoubtedly proven by the press's coverage of the Bush Administration, but perhaps was a result of other deeper cultural phenomena, almost all journalism today can now be considered as nothing more than yellow journalism.
Politics, as it is presented through the guise of our 24-hour news networks, is so empty today it has created the buzzword "Non-issue". How can an issue that is given the attention of the headlines of our national newspapers and news networks really be considered a "non-issue"? Once something is given attention on the national scope mustn't it then be justified to be a legitimate political issue?
It is indeed a sad state of affairs when an issue is discussed only within the terms of whether or not it even is an issue. Not completely different than Marx's theory of Commodity Fetishism we have basically stretched our capitalistic brainwashing (i.e. the dumbing down of our culture through our culture) to our politics to such a degree that even the things we discuss on a public forum have absolutely no substance.
It is news that isn't news, a discussion that lacks anything to discuss.
The current discussion (Discussion between who? Give me a break, it is not even possible to take this discussion serious for more than 2 minutes tops!) of Obama's birth certificate is considered to fall in the category of being a "non-issue" because there is no action to be taken once an outcome is reached.
If it is discovered that Obama was born in Kenya, a country he had never even visited until 1988, are we then expected to remove the President of the United States from office or are we to just shake our fists and mutter "oh, that damn Obama, he tricked us good"?!?!
By presenting this story at all the News has legitimized this conspiracy theory. A conspiracy theory supported by the same circles that proclaimed Obama to be a secret Muslim/Marxist/Terrorist during his presidential campaign. The irony is that his opponent Senator McCain was actually a lot closer to being born in another country, Panama; however it was on an American military base which is considered American soil and is completely unimportant, so moving on.
Just because one woman at a town hall meeting is applauded for saying something doesn't mean it is now an area of national attention and concern. This issue should have been given the same consideration the press gave Larry Sinclair, a man who claimed to smoke crack and be fellated (codeword for "dick sucked") by then Senator Obama in Chicago, which was almost none (for a good time click the link to his press conferences on Youtube).
In a business of reinforcing rhetoric and buzzwords the press legitimized this group calling for Obama's "real" birth certificate when they named them "The Birthers", thus presenting them as a heavily populated group with an honest concern instead of as the hundreds of racists and disgruntled republicans scattered across the bible-belt that they actually are.
Virtually all of the prominent voices of the movement (although, it is certainly NOT a movement) that sides with the "Birthers" have stated that they actually believe Barack Obama IS a citizen of the United States making the "non-issue" at hand completely irrelevant. Lou Dobbs stated "I believe Obama is a citizen" and Representative Campbell, the co-author of a bill concerning the subject, stated he felt Obama was an "American citizen". Lou Dobbs, as well as others, stand behind the excuse that they are just "asking questions". Here's a question "Why don't you shut the fuck up?".
This claim to be just "asking questions" is used abundantly among holocaust deniers as well as in conspiracy theories regarding the events of 9/11 and the JFK assassination. I am completely an advocate of asking unpopular questions, especially questions that undermine the beliefs of the status quo. However, once you ask said questions, you must be prepared to back them up and stand with them when the contrary answers are presented to you.
During a segment on Hardball Representative Campbell claims that he "cannot see" the birth certificate presented in front of him, completely similar in almost every single way to G. Gordon Liddy appearing on the same show to discuss the very same issue the very day before. Liddy claims that he "cannot see" the birth certificate held up literally right in front of his eyes. Their arguments had been debunked so clearly they had no other option but to sit there and lie.
G. Gordon Liddy goes on to complain that if there is no certificate of live birth within America, then President Obama is a criminal. A criminal? For being a politician withholding information? You mean like G. GORDON LIDDY who spent four and a half years in PRISON for helping a President withhold information from the public?
G. Gordon Liddy IS a convicted criminal! So even if Obama kept watch outside as others went in and falsified his birth certificate G. Gordon Liddy still has ABSOLUTELY(!!)no moral high ground whatsoever!!!!(forever and ever) Fuck this dude! Shouldn't he be fucking dead by now anyway?! His face is as active as those old dudes who used to sit in the balcony and talk shit about The Muppet Show!
One of the only arguments ever made in these segments is that what is presented is not a "Birth Certificate" but rather a "Certificate of Life Birth". While there is a distinction here, those making the claims rarely back it up and just like bickering children stand by their claim as their ignorance shines through their arguments of semantics.
This is almost a step beyond the ignorance that was proclaimed during the Terry Schaivo incident. On the Nightly News during that time many on the Right proclaimed that she could not be "Brain-dead" because there is no such thing. Their reasoning was that if the brain is dead then you're dead. As any medical professional (or even anyone WITH a brain) can tell you there most certainly IS a state of consciousness known as being "Brain-Dead", however the press, as they are doing now, continued to provide a forum for such erroneous assertions.
The nature of debate and the discussions that dominate contemporary politics is going to naturally give some legitimacy to groups who make questionable, ill-informed or even just ignorant claims as they are documented in the press for the knowledge of the public. Some journalists do attempt to debunk these issues as they inform their audiences of their existence. However in some cases, and especially in regards to "non-issues" of which there is little more than just sensationalism to be presented, all the press is doing is getting a claim to be taken more serious by the public than it has any right to be.
In an effort to create an issue where there is none, other than the fact that this has gone as far as being a topic of congressional legislation, the press has sacrificed what little was left of their integrity. As they all spent their time last week honoring legendary journalist Walter Cronkite perhaps the press should now spend some time considering not only what it means to "get it first, but get it right", they should also consider making sure the story is worth "getting" in the first place.
American politics has in the last several years been growing more bitter and dividing as it is saturated with meaningless rhetoric, code-words and an increasing Us vs. Them mentality. The media, as well as our public culture, is sucked into the middle of this focusing its meager attention span on every "non-issue" it can absorb, from the location of Michael Jackson's brain to whether or not the President has a legitimate Birth certificate and not just a Certificate of Live Birth.
With discussions as thrilling and entertaining as those do we really even need to bother asking whether or not the elections in Iran were stolen or why the War in Afghanistan is seeing more American casualties than since the war began or even what is to be done on the insurance company stranglehold on our nation's health care? At least one of these issues is getting some attention in between this meaningless debate.
It's not all fun and games as many Americans face the undeniable and shocking reality of what is reported in the "News". So today as Lou Dobbs and others continue to rant on a Mother is told her son was killed in the war, her home was lost, her job was lost, as well as her medical insurance because of a claim that being hereditarily prone for cancer counts as a "pre-existing condition"; but she can be thankful that Congress is ready to make sure that before you can lead the country to solving any one of those problems we must first be certain than at the Presidents birth his mother's vagina was verifiably certified to be within an arbitrary border.
God bless the USA!
For more information please see: Obama's cheeseburger with Dijon mustard, Miss California, Perez Hilton, Paris Hilton, Y2K, any celebrity scandal ever, etc.