There are few things that Americans can agree on during this divisive era, but hatred of the US media seems to be one of them.
I cannot name a single group of people in America that has a positive view of the media right now. Liberals cannot stand the media, conservatives cannot stand the media, men cannot stand the media, women cannot stand the media, white people cannot stand the media, minorities cannot stand the media, the elderly cannot stand the media, the younger generation cannot stand the media, politicians cannot stand the media, the wealthy cannot stand the media, the poor cannot stand the media. And so forth.
Is there *any *group of people in America that considers the US media trustworthy?
Those are pretty sweeping statements, and I disagree with most of them. And “the US media” is not some monolithic entity. With the internet and the proliferation of cable channels, pretty much everyone can find the echo chamber that makes them comfortable, if that’s what they want. Pretty much every slant you can think of is represented.
News is, for the most part, a business, and therefore each news business will try to maximize its income by giving its audience what it wants. It’s hard for me to imagine what everyone would be complaining about. Do they expect every outlet to agree with them? Are they blind to the biases and slanted tricks that their own favorite outlet uses compared with the ones they don’t like? Or is it just another facet of people being pissed off that the world isn’t going the way they want it to go?
And what’s the alternative, state sponsored news? If you suppose that everyone in Britain thinks that the BBC is open and unbiased, I’d bet a hefty sum that that’s not true. I get most of my news from NPR, but I recognize it as basically liberal (although at least they are pretty transparent about it). There are a few good un-slanted hard news sites around if that’s what anyone really wants. Some of them are even based in the US.
Things change when you start adding social media, where anyone and everyone can own their own printing press (so to speak).
What matters in both cases is what suranyi said. How trustworthy do you find your media outlets? I don’t trust anything that is owned by Fox. Nada. On the other hand, I grew up trusting NBC, but since their purchase by Comcast, there has been a very noticeable editorial bias growing within NBC News, MSNBC, The Today Show, etc. My trust with NBC has been seriously eroded.
It is unfortunate that the media is dollar driven but it’s even more unfortunate that the dumbing down of the public directs those dollars.
If CNN has two headlines on their website, “Trump says he’d like to slap Hillary” and “John Kasich has plans for nafta”, and after a day they find the Trump headline got a million clicks while the Kasich headline got 300K clicks, all their advertisers are going to want to place their ads on the million click article.
This in turn forces CNN to run more Trump like headlines.
People like to complain how the media feeds them crap but they really only have themselves to blame for favoring the crap.
I saw thread title and had to click. But my own sentiments were quickly provided by the first few responders:
In the olden days, people lived in geographic communities and read the same newspaper. In towns with two newspapers, people tended to sample both. There were only a few TV news networks and, addressing very broad audiences, their reporting was centristish. Today, with cable TV, Internet and loss of broad-spectrum community, news is an echo chamber of little worth; opinion, which would thrive on diversity, degrades to be a mirror. This environment encourages polarization.
Like the proverbial deer transfixed by headlights, it is human nature to watch sensational news. And common business practice to cater to consumers’ taste. As the Information Age increases in tempo, Americans often seem to be increasingly less informed. The media is not to blame, nor are citizens. It is the system which has failed us.
The polarization has become ugly and very tangible. People on the opposite side of the political spectrum are treated as hypocrites and enemies – much worse than politics was in the mid 20th century.
I don’t know what the full solution is, but part of it must be education. (That’s why efforts by the right-wing to suppress teaching of science and humanities is especially saddening.)
The problem I have with that is this notion of “balance” has degraded to “ok, this side says X, and the other side says Y. Balance!” IMO the role of journalism is to look at that, dig into it, and report on if X or Y are true, and if neither, find what “Z” is.
it’s as though the media in total just says shit like “President Obama says it’s bright and sunny outside. Ted Cruz scoffed and said it’s the middle of the night and raining. Well, there’s your balance!” They don’t always remember it’s their job to look out the window and note that it’s actually daylight and cloudy.