[Rough Draft]

A weblog about god, doubt, insomnia, culture, baseball

8.16.2006

is no news good news?

the comments generated by my post about the palestinian/lebanon rally got me to thinking just how confusing watching/reading "the news" can really be. my ideal friday night is to plop down on the couch for the newshour b/c i like shields and brooks, stay tuned for washington week, then, if i'm not fried, i might suffer through mclaughlin (i've grown to really hate the arrogant old guy and his yellin' cronies). i give cnn, msnbc (i admit i love don imus) and fox a chance to catch my interest in the mornings (i hate the network morning shows), i make the rounds of the networks around 6:30 most nights, i listen to npr and even to conservative talk radio if i'm in the car (i used to love listening to this severin guy in boston b/c he was so outrageous), and renee' and i wind up our day w/ stewart and colbert, plus charlie rose late @ night if i can stay up. i read the nyt on sundays, but that's my only print journalism aside from vanity fair. what i'm getting @ is that i may not be sharpest tool in the box, but i'm not an ostrich either.

what troubles me is that the only places in that list where time or column inches are spent really developing a story are: vanity fair (seriously, go read it for yourself, if you can make it through the 50 pages of ads, some of them semi-pornographic, that usually come before the table of contents), the newshour, the times, and most of all charlie rose. when you couple the shallow coverage w/ outright fabrication like reuters doctoring pix and fox, well, being fox -- the temptation is to deem "the truth" to be beyond apprehension and form opinions straight from the daily show b/c, let's admit it, @ least it's entertaining. as i see it, the trio of evils for americans are information overload from a 24/7 news cycle, overly simplistic reporting and media bias (toward the left and the right).

i'm not sure what the best strategy is, but i like what brett mccracken had to say in a recent 850 words from relevant magazine:
and so what are we, as christians, to do with all this fuzzy truth and sensationalized news in the digital domain? should we shun all technology, swear off cable news, read the bible and nothing more? probably not. what we can do is approach all media cautiously, critically and thoughtfully. bias is hard to overcome, no matter who you are, but awareness that all mediated messages carry some measure of subjectivity might just help the truth to emerge. at the end of the day it will not be technology (which can be used to simultaneously distort, refute, support and ignore the same truth) that will bring us into clarity, it will be our own god-given, critical-thinking, underappreciated minds.

2 Comments:

  • At 2:26 AM, Blogger Jeremy Pryor said…

    All very good points.

    I've basically lost any belief in objective journalism and simply watch 1 hour of conservative reporting and 1 hour of liberal reporting every night I catch up on the news.

    I'm thankful that at least I know the bias of the person.

    News has never been nor can it ever be truly objective. All facts must be filtered through someone's lens so I say, simply balance your intake, which it looks like you guys do.

     
  • At 10:21 PM, Blogger Nate said…

    I have significant reservations about using the idea of "balance" as a remedy to the inevitable spin and biases from any seller of news. It presumes that you know where the real center to a debate is (are "centrist" Americans really free of bias or agenda?) and that opposing distortions can somehow cancel each other out.

    Check out this relevant (and funny) comic:
    http://www.qwantz.com/index.pl?comic=470

     

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