The Media’s Not Always Lame

Please stop calling the press “lamestream media.”

Please stop claiming that all journalists are worthless, stupid puppets of authority figures or personal and political agendas.

Sure, some of them are. I’ll give you that.

It’s just, some journalists don’t suck. And the ones who don’t suck are pretty damn important.

Hating on journalists or the media shouldn’t be seen as making you more patriotic or a better American.

The media is an integral part of what makes this country great. And if you’ve really been playing attention to this country or its history, you’d know that.

They are not the enemy. They’re there for you, for all of us. They go where we can’t or don’t want to go to tell us the stories we often don’t want to, but need, to hear.

That’s pretty damn heroic stuff. That’s a big freaking deal.

The fourth estate is no joke. We need it. We need them.

What we also need is a clear understanding of the difference between journalists and commentators.

Because I don’t think we need more commentators.

It doesn’t take an extraordinary amount of journalist training to be a commentator. What you need to be is camera-ready, opinionated and ideally, well-spoken (though some of them don’t even measure up there.)

In short, many commentators aren’t that different from those guys standing on street corners with big signs screaming their opinions at passersby. They’re just better-dressed, well-scrubbed and they’ve been given airtime and microphone so they don’t need to scream, but for some reason, they still do.

They are usually not journalists. So let’s please stop pretending they are.

Let’s just admit they’re there more for our entertainment than for our education.

On some (okay, most) 24/7, cable news networks the line between entertainer and reporter is decidedly blurred. Just because someone is talking on a news network, it does not mean that person has any legitimate news training.

Case in point, Stacey Dash (aka Dionne from Clueless) is a commentator on Fox News. That’s real. I’m not making that up.

She is entitled to her opinions, as are the (arguably more famous) celebrities who provide commentary for the other side of the aisle. It’s just, they’re celebrities. They’re actors. They’re not journalists.

And, I think if people really thought about it, they’d see that these are the people who really deserve our complaints.

So yeah, please complain about them. And then stop watching them.

Commentators are largely to blame for what people see as the negative aspects of our media today—that it’s politically divided, prone to fear-mongering and superficial.

It’s like that because we keep watching that, because we keep watching them.

We should try to stop. We should try to get news from some people who aren’t screaming all the time, who aren’t speaking in talking points and party rhetoric.

And sure, that kind of news may be harder to find, but it will certainly be less lame.

Advertisements