There are all kinds of print articles and media commentary these days claiming that journalism is dead. Whether or not that is true, many of the same advocates of such a conclusion seem to waste an inordinate amount of time and effort trying to prove the point. Imagine if we all did the same thing at the passing of a friend, foe, or family member. It would be more than a bit weird.
The real issue here, though, is not so much that journalism is dead or at least on the literary slab of bad news reporting. The real issue here is whether or not truth died long before anyone decided to get on his/her word processor and begin to report on whatever. Because if truth died, then it is irrelevant what anyone has to write, say, or protest. News without truth is nothing more than a myth at best, slander or libel at worst.
One problem with asserting that truth died is the many conflicting ideas over what truth is. Everyone has an opinion that they assume comports with reality, many of which are so far-fetched that it is no wonder people grow apathetic when it is time to make decisions that directly effect a community, state, or country. Apathy breeds complacency and a complacent populace readily accepts whatever social conditioning there may be, irrespective of the truth, if whomever will simply let them have their mundane amusements.
Clearly, much, if not all, that journalists report on these days is not predicated upon the truth. Contemporary journalism is mostly about sensationalism, pushing agendas, and money. Journalism that does not titillate human sensitivities will not convince a population to vote certain ways or pour donations into political coffers. Journalistic stories that are longer than a 30-second sound-bite is abnormal by industry standards. Thinking is not allowed. Journalism that lacks a pretty face, blond hair, and red dress will simply not draw advertising bucks. Most journalists are really nothing more than petty pitch men and women devoid of an understanding about reality.
It is why there so much “fake news” being spread abroad. It starts with the “mainstream” media, which is then picked up and regurgitated on a plethora of social media outlets, and finalized in our schools, churches, businesses, and homes. What is truly unfortunate is that we’re addicted to it. We love it. We have become like our virtual mentors, repeating their words, as if they were gospel, while adding a sprinkle of our own shallow drivel to complete the journalistic “news” cycle.
Ironically, after repeating the latest swill, we gripe, complain, worry, stress-out, threaten, talk big, boast, demean, and insult our way into a tizzy, thinking that by doing so, we’re doing our fellow Americans a true civil service. We supposedly know the truth about any and all given events or situations, based on all the fragmentary reporting by our favorite “fair and balanced” journalists, when the reality is, we don’t know jack. We’re filling in all the journalistic holes with pure speculation, while living in the fantasy world they created.
So, it is not so much that journalism has died, because it is alive and well. It is that recognition of the necessity of truth has been sacrificed on the journalistic keyboard. Today’s journalists are as concerned about telling the truth, as most people are concerned about being hit by a five-ton meteorite.
What needs to happen is for people to turn off their televisions, because television has zero efficacious value for anyone, especially when it comes to news, and learn how to read and think, critically, all over again. And then when they are done reading and thinking about whatever, act upon what they have read or simply put it in the round file. Being informed without taking action is about as useful as lint in a lint trap. If information does not lead a person to act, then it is not information. It is worthless trivia and needs to be discarded.
Until that happens, then all the journalistic nonsense will keep right on hitting a fever pitch. And those heralding that journalism is dead will simply be contradicting themselves, much like those who refuse to leave the cemetery after the graveside service. If journalism is dead, then pay your respects and leave. If journalism is not dead, then either do something constructive to propagate and defend the truth or simply admit you’re as much of the problem as the journalist is in undermining it for ulterior reasons.