Are Americans receiving news or is opinion pretending to be news?
Now more than ever it appears that historically traditional news sources have been blurring the line between hard news and opinion. The classic textbook “who, what, when, where, why and how” journalistic approach to news delivery appears to be the exception and not the rule in broadcast, print, and most recently, the Internet.
Newspapers have traditionally been known to lean right or left throughout the centuries. Broadcast news sources like ABC, NBC and CBS, not to mention cable outlets such as CNN, MSNBC and Fox News, can all be found playing the leaning game. Still, the blur between hard news and opinion, especially among print and television news, appears greater at the moment, especially when opinion-driven media broadcasts and publications perform their job under the guise of “news.”
Last week a story printed in the The Daily Caller revealed excerpts from the archives of JournoList. Journolist is a list consisting of several hundred liberal journalists and others who use the list as a discussion board. The members of this list are not bloggers sitting in their underwear at a computer in their parents’ basement. These are respected journalists who write for publications like Harper’s, Salon, The Economist, and The Washington Post.
The messages published so far in the The Daily Caller confirm the worst stereotypes of liberal journalists as an auxiliary of the Democratic Party, and especially of the Barack Obama campaign, while fueling the paranoia on the right about the left-leaning national media. At one point in the released excerpts a journalist asks his fellow journalists, “Would it be a good use of this list to coordinate a message of the week along the lines of the GOP?” While others on the list reminded the group that such message coordination would be improper, the bias of this group for the Obama presidency and a liberal agenda has now been publicly aired.
News is a business like anything else. Ratings = revenue. Further, the public appears to respond well to opinion-driven “news.” That’s why such shows as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Rush Limbaugh Show, The Glen Beck Program and The O’Reilly Factor do so well. A significant amount of people get their news solely from such opinion/entertainment-driven sources. In fact, at one time, years ago, more people got their news from Entertainment Tonight than any other “news” source.
In recent years, the Internet has become the primary source for so many news-hungry consumers that it has been deemed a major contributing source to the demise of numerous newspapers throughout the world. However, with its uneven reputation of unreliability in reporting at one extreme and breaking major news stories missed or ignored by the mainstream media at the other extreme, many question the ability of the Internet itself to produce truly reliable news vs. opinion vs. entertainment.
Yet, these very Internet-driven, openly opinion-based Web-log (“blog”) “news” sources (more commonly known as the “blogosphere”) are the monkeys on the backs of America’s politicians, and especially America’s more “traditional” news sources as they continue to blur the line between hard news and opinion while gaining logarithmic popularity.
Question This Week_____________
Why is the “blogosphere” news phenomenon, which blurs the line between news and opinion, becoming the norm?