“To the press alone, chequered as it is with abuses, the world is indebted for all the triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity over error and oppression”.
-James Madison, Founding Father, President of the United States
I have to admit that I still occasionally tune into the Glen Beck show just to see what he is about. Invariably I find him off the wall and realize that he is not all there. When compared to real journalists such Jim Lehrer, Bill Moyers, and even Joe Scarburough and Fox's news anchor Shep Smith there is certainly with Beck a disconnect from reality. While some of them are not strictly reading news but editorializing and commentating on the issues I find the comparison to Beck a stark difference. There is a history of journalists editorializing and we only have to look back to see the effect's that it can have on a nation. From Edward R. Murrow who challenged McCarthy to Walter Cronkite who announced to the nation that the war in Viet Nam was not winnable, "it is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could."
Editorializing has a value in that it provides insight to a story or issue that sometimes get brief mention on regular news. Unfortunately today it has become a replacement for actual news. It is being portrayed as news and therein lies the danger. Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, O'Reilly and Dobbs present their comments with the impression that what they say is factual rather opinion and it is often a distorted opinion and sometimes strangled truth. They have in many cases created the news, As Vladimir Lenin said "The press should be not only a collective propagandist and a collective agitator, but also a collective organizer of the masses”. On this point Glen Beck and the Fox crew of O'Reilly, Hannity and their ilk would make comrade Lenin very happy.
The news organizations are beginning to blur the edges. Fox white man News seems the most egregious although CNN can claim it's share of the pie. It is obvious that most news media have positions that they feel is valid. Though I feel some are less valid than others especially when they serve another master. Such as Fox and the Right. A free press that examines the issues and exposes the truth to the American people is essential. That so many Americans listen to and believe a Rush Limbaugh or the twisted mind of a Glen Beck is scary. Maybe the saving grace is the blogosphere. The Huffington posts, Politico, The Daily Beast, the Washington Independent, and the rest will become the new force in journalism. If the TV news medias fail in their mission and become just the voice of one group or another they fail. Then it will be left to others to get the truth out to the people.
Fox Blurring the Lines
I have spent far too much time watching the baseball playoffs. It is a wonderful diversion and one of the great moments to be an American. The playoffs are an American institution. It is a time to forget the issues that we argue about, have a beer kickback and cheer for our favorite team. Maybe that is why we argue and fight so that we can preserve our way of life and do things like this. It there were no more baseball then I think that we would be that poorer as a nation. But hey, we have it. It is that time of year, so enjoy.
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