Should the media be given credence anymore?

My basic premise is this…you hear constantly about how young people are influenced by the media’s “standards” of beauty or masculinity, how the media scares people into thinking there’s much more crime than what’s going on, how they distort news stories, how they’re slanted more to “infotainment” but, with all of this going on, we still haven’t outright dismissed the media as a general statement. I mean, hell, they practically directly fed the Donald Trump train and allowed him to have free media all hours of the day. They’re still given credence. It’s not a basis of “If they’re right, that’s really nice and when they do good work that’s really nice but don’t expect it.” I find it really disheartening that people still listen to garbage journalism and People magazine when they haven’t had credibility for a long, long time.

Is there an argument to be made for the mainstream media? Do they provide more good than harm?

(Sorry if this didn’t come out clearly - this was written very stream of conscious)

I can’t tell if you’re criticizing “mainstream media” or “garbage journalism.” Or are you saying they’re the same thing?

I have no beef with major metro newspapers, or even the network news. Sure, there’s room for improvement, and it’s not the golden age of Cronkite anymore, but that’s a mixed bag too. Personally, I’d be happy if they could get the weather handled in a about 45 seconds, and skip the stories of the baby elephants. I don’t think anyone has ever said People is a news source.

“The media” is not one monolithic entity with a singular agenda or credibility rating. You may as well ask whether we should trust “doctors” or “scientists” or “the government”.

Do you have an alternative?

Are you arguing that “something” should be done about the media? Or are you simply putting people on notice that they should stop reading/watching/listening to news outlets?

There was an old aphorism, (that I can only paraphrase, not knowing the exact quote), “Tell me his newspaper and I will tell you his political party.” People have always chosen to get their information from sources with which they are emotionally comfortable, so even if we reformed (whatever that means) the news media, people would still find ways to select the information they wanted to receive.

What are you proposing to debate?

The only thing that will bring about a change in “the media” is if we, consumers of media, decrease the demand for crap.

I don’t get upset at “the media” in the least when it focuses on the royal family, the Kardashians, Trump’s hand size, or when it upholds unreasonable body standards. That happens because there is an audience for it. Apart from public TV and radio (and even there to a lesser extent) “the media” is in the business of delivering a demographic to its advertisers. Some target conservatives, some target liberals. Some target people who prefer a big dose of entertainment with their news. And sadly, there are lots of people who want to hear about the royal family or the Kardashians, so they are targeted too.

“The media” reflects our desires and tastes. I don’t blame “the media”. I blame us. When we decide we want serious analysis about serious issues to the exclusion of the crap, we’ll get it.

I have to agree with what you’re saying except that I do get upset that so much of the audience wants this kind of story. “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public” - H.L. Mencken (I think). When TV news was put under the Entertainment division rather than their own News division at the networks many years ago they allowed commercial advertising which made the emphasis you describe inevitable. This in part is what the program “Newsroom” was about. 4 months of wall to wall Anna Nicole Smith anyone?

What does this mean? How do I, a private citizen, withhold credence?

Sure. In general, they keep the public informed of critical issues of the day. Information is presented in a variety of forms, in a timely manner. Investigative reporting exposes corruption and malfeasance, and speaks truth to power. They give the general public a voice, helping raise the public awareness.

Compared to what alternative?

I’ll echo those who say “what’s the alternative”. What, people listening to their own echo chamber web news sites? Is that any better? I still prefer the reporting of outfits like The New York Times or CNN to left or right wing blogs. I feel the mainstream media does a whole host of good. For one, most people aren’t necessarily news junkies. They don’t go out searching for smaller news sites or blogs. I’d imagine a lot of people don’t really even have time for that. Watching a few minutes of CNN or reading a few headlines from the NY Times app is likely all they really will get of the daily news.

Well, I’d give them Bad Moon Rising, personally. And I think anyone can be given Creedance…it’s pretty timeless stuff and should be available to even the press and the media…

Why bother relying on governments and authority figures to grant or withhold credence when I can construct my own belief system at home that costs less and lasts longer?

The reason it isn’t the age of Cronkite is that the network news has to make money, and local news is a big moneymaker for stations. Happy news showed that baby elephants draw viewers, so do fires, and most real stories don’t. (Though most stations show some so that the real journalists on staff don’t shoot themselves out of shame, I suppose.)
Outlets going after the serious news markets are better, because their demographic doesn’t like baby elephants. I read the NY Times and know nothing about the Kardashians and I want to keep it that way.

I would like to see a system like the UK has had since the '30’s? where a small fee is collected say on your utility bill or tax return that goes to the BBC - where there is no pressure to get ratings and where which stories to run is decided by the dreaded media elites. Like it or not these are the people who for the most part have devoted their adult lives to the reporting of news. Only by freeing them from the pressures of commercialism can they be truly independent.