“Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn’t mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar.”
Edward R. Murrow
Today there is dissatisfaction with the information coming to the public from the so called “Fourth Estate”. In times gone the very term did not exist. In antiquity there were three estates utilized primarily to place persons in classifications within in a society, these being: the clergy, the nobility, and lastly the commoners. In America this delineation took on a fiscal slant: the wealthy, the middle class, and the poor. Class systems have always plagued mankind and will continue if we persist in the belief that society must be categorized in order to succeed.
Then came the “Fourth Estate” described as “…a societal or political force or institution whose influence is not consistently or officially recognized. “Fourth Estate” most commonly refers to the news media” (Wikipedia). A further subset of this estate is the “Misinfotainment” estate which defined in the Urban Dictionary as “a class of media propaganda where entertainment combined with journalism developed for 24-hour television news networks is designed to instill emotional responses from viewers instead of providing facts.”
There was a time when every evening one could sit down and watch the “news.” Usually for an hour each night, and perhaps after the evening shows air, we could watch reporting on the major events of the day. For those who did not wish to wait until evening, newspapers were available in the AM and many read these tomes with their morning coffee or during breaks in the days work. For the most part it was, as an old slogan from a 1950’s police procedural would state, “Just the facts.” Little embellishment, and straight forward dissemination of information was the order of the day. Mavens of the Media like Edward R. Murrow, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley, Walter Cronkite, Harry Reasoner, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, Diane Sawyer, and Dan Rather let us know what was occurring, and were not squeamish about the effect it had. Reporting the facts stood as the purpose, and the corporate sponsors would just have to listen as if they never wrote the checks that kept these people on the air.
At one point, it became about what was the best sounding story and not what the story actually said. Anderson Cooper recently made a public announcement about the state of his sexuality that spread around the world like wildfire. Yahoo news has had it as their lead piece in the TV section of their online feed for three weeks. A Google search will force someone to go to the third page to find out what he has reported on that is not about being gay. Are a person’s private predilections or beliefs so important that we ignore things that he might have done which are of value? Obviously it is, as evidenced by the piece he did on a low level character actor marrying a well-endowed sixteen year old singer detailing for us that her endowments are all natural.
One question to ask might be about the “naturally endowed” teenagers in the world who are victims of sex trafficking or repeatedly raped in their home countries by soldiers of the opposition in civil wars currently being fought.
The totality of the inanity that is being offered in our news media proves that we have corrupted our minds with a plethora of nonsensical rants that fill our lives and guide the focus of all of day to day life. Is it truly anyone’s business what two people do within the confines of a personal relationship unless that same affiliation creates distress or harm to either partner or others?
The recent outrage in a movie theater is an issue that has been growing for many years. Some person of obvious mental deficiency decided to make final judgment on a group of strangers, and was allowed to do so because nobody noticed, or cared that this same disturbed individual was equipped as well as, or better then, a United States Armed Forces Special Operations soldier in combat.
Must we be forced to endure the follow-up story about the incident that has no relevance? Do we really need to know that the President went there and did some visiting, and made some decisions that we would normally expect from the Commander-in-Chief. Does the upcoming election really need to show how good a guy the President is. Do we really need to know that both candidates have suspended character assaults in unity over letting the victims know they are thought of and prayed for? Character assaults that should not even have been there in the face of real problems and issues such as a madman killing people with the impunity offered by the Second Amendment?
Granted, the Second Amendment does not call for the murder of people, but the interpretation we have allowed of it has absolutely caused the situation. Gun lobbyists scream from the rooftops every time someone speaks about putting checks and balances on purchasing a gun. Is it better to know that a person is receiving his rights, then to allow someone who is using the law for his own benefit, and not exercising his rights, to murder and maim? How can a rational population believe that citizens, not at war, must have the right to own a machine gun?
They can because the news media, in the guise of reporting allows it. They continually communicate stories that might please the corporate sponsors, or fulfill a political agenda. It is not the horror that is important, but how many commercials might be crammed into a given report. It is about how we can get this done and report on really vital stories like: a small time character actor marrying a sixteen years old girl who is copiously and naturally endowed.
When are we going to be able to watch substantive reporting that is not driven by greed?