Today’s “Journalism”—Now That’s Entertainment
Who cares if Brian Williams is a stone cold liar? Do we really care about honest journalism? It’s boring to watch all these talking heads spewing out actual facts and reporting honest news. Give me my DVR, give me my Slingbox, give me my PlayStation, give me fake news! Give me fake news, not facts. Now that’s entertainment!
Would anyone really care to watch Brian Williams tell facts? I’d much rather hear about how he risked his life in a Chinook helicopter during the Iraq war—even if it didn’t really happen. He shouldn’t have had to resign from the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation for lying. That’s not right. He entertained us! He should get another Peabody for that. So he lied about being embedded on a mission with Seal Team Six. Come on, so what? That’s every man’s dream. Ask Tiger Woods.
Do I really give a damn that Williams said he was there when the Berlin Wall came down, even though he arrived in Berlin the day after? No. Keep me from boredom. I was bored to tears when I was a kid and my folks watched “honest” old Walter Cronkite. BORING! Even when journalists tell the truth, I don’t believe them anyway. They’re just there to excite me, to titillate and entertain me. It’s the best reality TV there is, without the reality! Reality is overrated.
We think the country’s divided by philosophical differences. Hog wash! We’re divided along TV viewership lines. MSNBC on the left, Fox on the right. They cut a deal some time ago. They’re probably owned by the same investors. This whole polarization thing is all about competing for the entertainment dollar. You have a choice: reruns of Family Feud, or Fake News Left with Chris Matthews or Fake News Right with Sean Hannity. Matthews says Trump can do no right, and Hannity says Trump can do no wrong. You want the truth? Add both together and divide them in half (maybe).
“Ethical journalism” is an archaic concept. No one pays a top anchor like Williams $10 million or more a year unless he’s really interesting to watch. The First Amendment guarantees freedom of the press for distribution of information and opinions. So what’s the big deal? They just forgot the information—but we still get the opinions. It was Williams’ opinion that his helicopter was hit by an RPG. But his opinion is protected too, so did he really violate any ethical standards of journalism? If he didn’t make stuff up, I’d say he was violating the ethical standards of entertainers.
“Ethical journalism” is an archaic concept. No one pays a top anchor like Williams $10 million or more a year unless he’s really interesting to watch. The First Amendment guarantees freedom of the press for distribution of information and opinions. So what’s the big deal? They just forgot the information—but we still get the opinions.
The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) ethics code states that journalists “should remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.” I call BS; how would any of these poor journalists make a living? Who can blame those reporters in Florida for taking federal money in exchange for undermining Fidel Castro? So what if Katie Couric plagiarized the Wall Street Journal on her blog? What’s the big deal about Donna Brazile, a CNN contributor, tipping off Hillary Clinton staff about debate questions? After all, what are friends for?
Let’s back off from attacking the press even if they attack us, our religions, political beliefs or whatever. So what if they’re dishonest, as some say? It’s just business. It’s well-intended entertainment. We can all support that, right? Which is why, when A&E mounted its recent smear campaign against one of the world’s fastest-growing religions—mine—facts and reality, or “the other side of the story” really didn’t matter, and why should they? As you can see, I’ve come around to their line of thinking. Look how their once-tanking ratings have been boosted! Shame on any of us for getting in the way of economic progress, regardless of the truth.
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