By Willie Moseley
As a new year begins, most average Americans who still opt to pay close attention to the news are probably figuring nothing of significance will change in the way it is reported and interpreted in this nation.
It seems so-called “advocacy journalism” and “identity politics” continue to dominate all too many news stories and news channels. Moreover, both terms infer a type of bias.
There are a lot of “squeaking wheels” on either end of many news-driven issues and said “wheels” are incessantly demanding to be greased — i.e., “pay-attention-to-me” histrionics directed at those of us in between.
I’m not referring to (or advocating) a middle-of-the-road stance or attitude about any individual issue. What’s being addressed here are the shrill dramatics accompanying many news reports that subliminally attempt to warp a non-partisan viewer’s point of view.
That’s not what any conscientious American who believes in truth would want. Time was, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley would simply report the news in a talking-head format. As I recall, anything vaguely resembling an editorial would be saved for the end of the program.
Nowadays, however, a plethora of news presentations are show-biz-style hooplas with loud “discussions” and garish graphics that resemble the front cover of a supermarket tabloid. Some reports are exemplary of why the television news industry envisioned in the 1976 movie “Network” now seems to be a reality.
One ludicrous facet that’s been utilized for a number of years is the so-called “ambush interview.” In such a scenario, an unsuspecting public figure — usually a politician — gets accosted in a public place in a boisterous manner. The ambushers expectorate loud inquiries about his/her perhaps controversial behavior, including how he/she voted on a particular issue.
A guy named Jesse Watters originally made his mark in the new business several years ago via ambush interviews and now has his own TV program.
There are also video confrontations by people who aren’t members of the news media. One recent example involved several activists swarming around a government official in an airport, trying to block his way up an escalator as they shouted in his face. Not surprisingly, the incident was recorded on a phone camera (one of the givens of Selfie Nation), so it ended up on TV anyway.
Decent people would think such behavior is rude.
There’s also the simple matter of class if a public figure, particularly a politician, is in front of a camera and calls attention to himself/herself in a crude manner. Wishing the president would act more presidential is probably a huge collective thought for a lot of us and the recent 12-letter vulgarity from a new congressperson simply underlines why “classy politician” has become an oxymoron.
Yet in spite of the plethora of bombast in modern times, it was heartening to note some recent editorials siding with those of us between the “squeaking wheels.”
One columnist addressed Starbuck’s policy regarding use of its restrooms by non-customers (particularly homeless individuals) and how some shops in that chain are now having problems keeping those facilities sanitary, noting, “When the elites decide to coddle the underclass, the normals are the ones who pay the price.”
Well said. My interpretation is “elites” could include news organizations and/or politicians and/or activists. I don’t drink coffee but I consider myself to be “normal.”
As for political elites, too many elected officials all too often exhibit their disregard for the populace by favoring other elites (businesses, unions, national organizations, etc.) and/or groups perceived to be the downtrodden, even at the expense of protocol and/or the law.
Obviously, the present immigration crisis is a keystone example. Another editorial addressed how those of us who simply work for a living and obey the law are treated with short shrift, as the commentary decried, “The moral exhibitionists who put the wants of illegal aliens over the requirements of law and the wishes of citizens.”
One wonders how many people would acknowledge, regardless of their own socio-political beliefs and voting propensities, they would simply like to see and hear news reports that are straightforward truth without any implicit bias from the broadcaster or publisher and without any grandstanding from a public figure.
“Sometimes, partisan viewers want to watch non-partisan news reports,” one columnist recently lamented.
Bingo. That’s all there is to it.