how “news” programs inspire radicalism

2

as much as i like to stay involved in politics, i generally try to avoid debates

Bill OReilly

about which news outlets are covering stories the right way or the wrong way.  i feel at this point, we all have decided for ourselves how we want our news.  do we want to get it from big media like CNN, Fox, or MSNBC, do we want to get it from newspapers and magazines (hard copies or online), do we want it from our favorite blogs or a combination of all of them.  Furthermore, we have the decision to pick the tone in which we receive that information.  Do we want these stories presented to us in a provocative manner like O’Reilly or Olberman do, in a traditional behind the desk format like our local news, or through a hybrid format like The Situation Room on CNN.  The point is, its up to us to decide which format works for us. They are all there for us to choose from and there are options for every taste.  So why I may think Bill O’Reilly program is ridiculous, others find his style exactly what they want and there is nothing wrong with that…generally.

olbermanthings start to get fuzzy when these different mediums choose to use their “news” platforms as a way to express their opinion or lead their viewers under the premise that they are receiving well researched, factual information.  Again, I don’t think there is anything wrong with a blogger or talking head on TV analyzing the news or events and then putting their own spin or opinion on it for their viewers to digest. My problem is that now more than ever “news” broadcasts on TV are spewing un-researched, polarizing information at the viewer under the auspices that its accurate, factual, “fair and balanced” information.  I often hear people regurgitate information they received on what i call “battle news” programs like Hannity and Colmes or the O’Reilly Factor that is just flat out untrue.  This insurgency of radical “news” coverage influences millions of people and fuels misunderstanding, intolerance and hatred in many cases.  I don’t mind if people use their platforms to share their opinions.  They have a right to, and we have thousands of alternatives if we don’t agree with it.  I just wonder when someone is going to hold these “news” programs accountable for their bait and switch tactics of presenting information to viewers that is untrue and opinionated as truth.  paul krugman wrote what i think is a great piece today in the new york times that talks about the influence of the radical right “news” programs.  i challenge you to read the piece and not try to agree or disagree if Fox News is a shepherd for the devil (because there are liberal programs that do the same thing but on the opposite side of the aisle), but rather examine the influence these mainstream programs have and share your thoughts on if we should do something about this so people better understand what is really behind the information they are receving, namely the opinions of the writers and hosts of these programs. Let me know what you think in the comments section below. Thanks!

Pete