Watching The Watchdogs

September 23rd, 2004 · No Comments
by Booksquare

We broke up with our local news a little over a year ago. It was painful — especially when we said goodbye to Mark Thompson, our beloved weather dude. We still long for glimpses of him, so much so that sometimes we see really bad movies because he’s often hired to play, well, weathermen. They say time heals, but we aren’t sure. We do know it was a relationship that had to end. We spent far too many nights shouting at the television. They say you shouldn’t go to bed angry; we did, far too often.

We hear that this newfangled twenty-four hour news cycle puts incredible pressure on the media. No longer is there time to fact check and verify, verify, verify. It’s ratings, baby, only ratings. Why be accurate when you can be first? Since the press is supposed to serve as an additional check (or balance?) for the government, we demand a healthy skepticism, a little analytical thought, a bit more “consider the source” (actually a lot more) from reporters and those who put news out for public consumption. If Jon Stewart has become the most trusted name in news, the other news outlets should be ashamed of themselves.

If the media cannot be bothered to get it right, then the public will pick up the slack. If journalists are disturbed by this (and, again, they should be), then the alternative is clear: give the public credit for a longer attention span and do your homework. If you don’t, then you don’t get to complain.

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