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Watchdogs to Lapdogs

The Press, AKA the Media, are supposed to be the watchdogs of the people. Their job is to tell us the facts so that we may better form our opinions and know what is going on in the country. Somewhere along the way the “job” seems to have been co-opted by the needs of many in the media to give us their opinion. Often presented as fact.

 I have no problem with Opinion Commentary as long as it’s labeled as such. It is a problem, even as opinion, if it’s filled with disinformation. Even an opinion writer should adhere to some ethical standards.  

Many opinion writers resemble circus dogs, entertaining perhaps, even talented, but taken seriously? I think not.

 I take a pass on watching  most opinion programs. Which means I don’t watch any of the news programs on NBC, CBS or ABC. They quit reporting and began opinionating quite some time ago. It’s gotten worse since they developed their crush on Barack Obama. It passed disgusting and entered nauseating in 2008 and hasn’t improved. Had they any character they would be ashamed. They don’t and so they aren’t.

 I don’t watch CNN, MSNBC and most of FOX. These cable channels are so mired in their own ideology they wouldn’t know how to “report” even if it occurred to them to do so. I watch Special Report on FOX and Brett Baier is one of the few for whom I have some respect.

 The scandal about the Journolist Journalists didn’t resonate with many citizens. Most problably have never heard about it. Not surprising  since those who were guilty of this egregious crime against all journalist standards were/are, for the most part, the ones who should have reported the story to the people. File that one under “F” for fat chance.

I grew up listening to the likes of Walter Cronkite, Huntley-Brinkley Report and Edward R. Murrow. I think my father thought Murrow could walk on water. Many vets felt that way.

Watching the White House Press Corps before it became the Press Corpse was often exciting. Sam Donaldson took no prisoners. Wonder what he thinks of the current bunch.

Did I know that Sam Donaldson was a liberal? I suspected that he was. Still he managed, most of the time, to be a reporter, not a cheerleader. The idea of Sam Donaldson or any of his contemporaries saying that any candidate gave them a “tingle” up their leg is too funny to imagine.

 As a political reporter questioning public officials, I say only half facetiously that the only way to avoid being seen as a partisan is to be equally vicious to everyone.”  ~Sam Donaldson

 I grew up listening to the Huntley-Brinkley Report because that was what my parents watched every night. I don’t think it ever occurred to my family that these men were not fair and accurate. We trusted the media, perhaps too much, in those days. Of course in those days NBC still had some credibility. As “editgate” has shown that is no longer true.

I used to believe  the government was the answer to all our problems. But the . . . government, I’ve concluded, is now an insufferable jungle of self-serving bureaucrats.” ~Chet Huntly

  I began watching Walter Cronkite in 1962 when he became anchor of the CBS Evening News. He was called the most trusted man in America. When he said “that’s the way it is,” we believed that was the way it was.I was far more trusting and naive in those days.   I  still believe that Cronkite was an honest journalist.

The point of all this wandering back to the “good old days” when we could trust our media to go the “who, what, when, where and why route is that those days are gone. We are poorer as a people and a nation because of it.

I don’t usually long for the “good old days.” There are darn few things for which I am nostalgic. Responsible Journatism is one.

 Is the media still guilty of a slobbering love affair with Barack Obama? Absolutely. That should disgust the left as much as the right. A slobbering love affair is for teenagers not adults. Certainly not adults tasked with informing the public.

 Once the media become lap-dogs we all lost. They lose all credibility to people who actually want facts.  Then where do you go? Who do you turn to for the truth? What is the truth?  It’s no way to run a media. It’s no way to run a country.

Without our “watchdogs” our freedom is always in danger. We often can’t “know” unless they tell us. If they are so busy playing lapdog that they won’t educate the public lest it tarnish their chosen one’s image they certainly don’t belong in the “news” industry.

I know the difference between entertainment and news. Somehow I wonder if a generation that is growing up with this media will.

There is no more important struggle for American democracy than ensuring a diverse, independent and free media. Free Press is at the heart of that struggle.”  ~ Bill Moyers

I suspect there was a time when Bill Moyers believed that. If you watch his bias now you might find it hard to believe. How sad that a man who once knew and believed in an unbiased press has allowed his own ideology to taint his legacy.

  • APO_AE_09173

    Amen.  The 4th estate is our last defense against tyranny.

    We are in trouble folks–real trouble.

  • alicewolf

    The bell tolled when they threw the ninety year old lady journalist out of the WH press room for saying things about the way Israel is treating Palestine.   That was the moment when citizens should have taken to the streets FOR REAL.

  • foxyladi14

     good article as usual Marge. Thanks.

  • foxyladi14

    I still like  Jake Tapper

  • TeakWoodKite

    News and the 4th estate is now nothing more than proganda. Honest reporting, even with some underlying bias of the writer, is a fading fixture of the industrial age.
    What Brave New World’s await us? If information is what is used to hold our elected offiicials to account, then it is corrupted by hope and change.

    “Sleep teaching was actually prohibited in England. There was something called liberalism. Parliament, if you know what that was, passed a law against it. The records survive. Speeches about liberty of the subject. Liberty to be inefficient and miserable. Freedom to be a round peg in a square hole.” (3.138)

  • Flop_Flipper

    Like you, I grew up watching and listening to the “greats.” It was a family ritual and we were required to watch the 6:30 news whether we wanted to or not. My father instilled the need for us to be informed at an early age. And I remember fondly watching Sam Donaldson go after every politician regardless of party. Bullshit was bullshit and he took no prisoners.

    But we live in a different age now where actual journalism is the exception rather than the rule. And without trying to come off as ageist, I believe that the younger generation hasn’t had the opportunity to witness a real interview. The nonsense spouted on the networks has become the norm and if it isn’t sensational it lulls them to sleep. In fact, our whole society has become so used to the absence of substance that most wouldn’t know it if it bit them in the ass. And they buy into the BS that every attack on Obama is because of racism. They see it on TV, they read it on Twitter and they are taught it in their schools. And the government wonders why our students are learning so little.

    Substance has been replaced by 140 character tweets and retweets. 140 characters is a campaign slogan, not a valid argument based upon facts that have been debated logically and thoroughly. Where in the hell is Sylvester the Cat when we really need him? And when facts become uncomfortable, the channel is switched and simple words like racism and sexism replace intelligent discussion.  It’s cool though because everybody is doing it.

    We live in a world gone mad. People are so addicted to social networking that they blindly go along, careless and mindless that businesses and the government are following their every move. As long as they have the convenience of easy access to chatter and to make “friends” nothing else matters. Losing our constitutionally guaranteed rights means nothing to them. But try and take away their twitter account and they will be marching in the street with pitchforks and torches.

    The media is aware of this as is the government. That is why they continue to provide the programming and positioning they do. And until something disastrous happens I doubt that many of them will wake up and see what has been done. And maybe care.

  • FLDemFem

    If we had real reporters worthy of the title,  then Obama and his corrupt administration would have been exposed long since. Unfortunately, the media is composed of enablers and therefore as responsible for the corruption as the Obama administration. When it all comes out, as it will one day, the media will have to explain why they didn’t investigate and report on the crooks in power now. I don’t think “tingles” will be enough of an explanation.

  • elizabethrc

    I think Ed Henry and Jake Tapper are the last of the even handed reporters. 
    When MSNBC gives shows to the likes of Al Sharpton and Soledad O’Brien (wasn’t Olbermann on MSNBC?) they put the nail in the coffin for me.  I watch not one single show on that station, so removed are they from sane reportage.  Even Bill O’Reilly, whose ego gets in the way of much of his air time, tries at evenhandedness.  He also is able to laugh at himself, something the MSM would find totally abhorrent, their being so utterly right, yada, yada, yada.
    American just don’t like being lectures to by people they feel contempt for.  This is one reason those organizations are losing viewers in droves and why their numbers are plummeting, while FOX’s are rising dramatically.  There aren’t many places one can go to hear even a semblance of truth.

    • Anthony_1

      “When MSNBC gives shows to the likes of Al Sharpton and Soledad O’Brien (wasn’t Olbermann on MSNBC?) they put the nail in the coffin for me.”

      Bingo!  That particular network is glued to the White House more than people know.  Can’t disclose too much (non-disclosure) but don’t you think its odd that Valerie Jarrett manages to get video conferenced every time a particular morning (Joe) host goes against the official talking points?

      And yes, Olberman worked for MSNBO…

  • Anthony_1

    Great, great post, Marge!

    Unfortunately, Cable News is classified as “Entertainment”, and can be as slanted as they please to accommodate their target audience.

    Until recently, real news was on major networks only.  Now they’re even becoming skewed to accommodate a political agenda.

    If more people would just roll up their sleeves and get to work scouring the internet for legitimate sources (yes, they’re out there), television news would fall by the wayside.

    There are too many sources of real information that make lazily sitting in font of the teevee and listening to propaganda pointless 

    • KenoshaMarge

      I think that more people are looking for truth in news in other places.

      I can “like” an opinion writer, even agree with him/her most of the time without allowing them to be my conscience or my viewpoint.

      For instance: I adore most of what Thomas Sowell writes. I agree with what he writes a good share of the time. However he is far more conservative than I am and he didn’t like, still doesn’t so far as I know, Mitt Romney one bit. He even wrote a piece semi-excusing Gingrich’s bad behavior. Still “like” him, still “respect” him, just don’t always agree with him.

      Ditto Peter Wehner over at Commentary Magazine and Kate Hicks at Townhall. I agree with much of what they write. That doesn’t mean that I change my opinions because of something they say. I may decide that some opinion I hold needs to be rethought or needs more information. If  they make me think then they serve a good purpose. All too many writing from the left only make me think they are full of shit.

      Some will continue to listen/watch/read only those places that tell them what they want to hear, instead of what they need to hear. That’s their loss and their refusal to learn and grow.

      Oops, babbling on again. My bad.

      • Anthony_1

        Not babbling at all.  Sometimes I find myself agreeing with Peggy Noonan more than I care to admit.  Even to myself…

        Actually, there’s a difference between opinion and inciting riots (Al Sharpton, anyone?)

        The constant drum-roll on shows from either extreme is akin to brain washing.

        • KenoshaMarge

           I agree with her more than I ever thought possible. Still find her smarmy on television but that’s just me.

      • HoosierinDixie

        Great post Marge. You are the corporate medias worst nightmare…..A person with a brain and you know how to use it.

        • KenoshaMarge

          Thank you but by myself I am nothing. However if you add other old ladies and their sons and daughters and grandsons and granddaughters and pretty soon you have   numbers to scare the crap out of the pundidiots.

           Thinking for ourselves and ignoring the bias and bullshit is their worst nightmare. I just try to do my part.

          • LindaAnselmi

            Go Marge!!!

  • samb1

    Yes, its more about ratings more about 
    business and less about backbone.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/XEDHO55LWYQG4LL5WIPYHHMDSI miriam

    Once upon a time network executives generally kept hands off their news staffs.   And networks were not owned lock, stock, and barrel by corporations that in turn owned their advertisers  (Think General Electric).  They may have poured as much money into individual  candidates’ campaigns as they do today, but somehow I doubt it.  Today there is practically no such thing as an independent print medium or television network.  They are all part of chains/comglomerates with vested interest in how the public perceives daily events.  Of course they present biased news! 

    When President Eisenhower ( a Republican 4-star general, for those of you too young to know) said to beware the military industrial complex, he wasn’t just whistling Dixie.  A “free” unbiased media is just one of the victims.

  • HELENK2

    the free press sold itself  like a half a dollar hooker.
    Like you I grew up listening to NEWS men. I also at one time in the late 60s and early 70s worked for a newspaper.
    I watched more and more papers be bought out and there be fewer and fewer independent papers. At one time believe it or not, news was reported and the public was respected enough to form their own opinions on it.
    Now newspapers do not even make good birdcage liners, and tv “news” is nothing but noise background and not worth taking the time to listen.
    There are not enough “old timers” in the news business now to even begin to teach the young what a “NEWS” person is supposed to be.
    The news is dead, long live the propaganda and how sad is that for this country

  • http://twitter.com/VeronicaVerona1 Veronica Verona

    Oh yuck.  Twitchy.com has some samples of the left’s name calling directed towards Ann Romney.  

    They are truly pathetic.

    • Anthony_1

      Saw that last night. Disgusting.

    • KenoshaMarge

      Yes indeedy, the “Women’s Party” once again showing how little respect they have for women.

  • http://twitter.com/VeronicaVerona1 Veronica Verona

    Once upon a time, the media did not give personal opinions of the news.  At the most, they made a statement as to the gravity of a situation or a general acknowledgement of the prevailing mood of the country and it’s citizens.

    With the advent of 24/7/365 news they had to fill the hours.  That was the end of non-partisan reporting.   Yack, yack, yack, opinion after opinion.  

    Talking heads.

  • HARP2

    Media is dead.

     

    • KenoshaMarge

      Couldn’t agree more. That’s a good one Harp. Here’s another.

    • foxyladi14

       LOL.

  • Hokma

    Some may recall that there was a time when there was balanced and respectful journalism that could be trusted to delvering a factual story. In fact the news media was not liberally biased as it is now.

    For instance, there was a time when Newsweek magazine was a slightly left of center news weekly and TIME was a right of center newsweekly. There was a time when the New York Times actually printed factual news on every page but the editorial page.

    Then came the Internet and old media no longer had the advertising revenue it thrived on. So they had to resort to sensationalism to attract any audience at all. Once you allow that you enable the editorial staff to open up their personal political bias on Page 1.

    I don’t think there will ever be unbiased reporting again and it is up to the individual to read all sides and use their own ability to reason.

  • CathyInKs

    Loved this article!  You’re so right about the decline of journalistic ethics.  I remember having a conversation with a younger adult about this very problem.  Their response was that this is the way our “news” is.  It’s all propaganda and there’s nothing we can do about it.  I cited Walter Cronkite as an example from the past.  I was basically told I’m not living in the “real world”.  Heaven help us all, if  we cannot see that “lies and propaganda” destroy our capacity to make informed decisions which ultimately threatens our freedom and our very humanity.

    • KenoshaMarge

      How sad that accepting shoddy journalism and dishonesty is counted as living in the “real world.” The real world is what we make it. If we roll over and play dead then their drek is the new reality.

    • DianaLC

      The saddest part of this whole situaton is that creating a reality that young people accept is what liberals like to do.  If they create the reality that the news is biased, young people stop being interested in hearing, watching, or listening to the news.  Just yesterday in a discussion about amniocentesis (it came up in a discussion about setting up an argumentation essay), most other students didn’t know what the word meant.  In explaining what the test is and why women have it when they are pregnant, I used the example of Bella’s condidtion.  Most did not know who Rick Santorum was.

      The left really likes the uninformed masses.  They like people who accept that the left is in charge.  Those people are more easily led, as long as they’re able to lead their lives as they are now.  The left are elitists–think of themselves as the vanguard and the intelligentsia.  Read Marx and weep.

      It means that journalism teachers and newspaper advisors in high school make choices.  I made the choice to make the students follow old-fashioned rules of journalism.  Thank heavens the state organization of high school journalism expected the same thing.  But, in the years since I left, the person who was my department chairman has reported to me –shaking her head and being disgusted–that the new “popular” young advisor has turned the newspaper into a more magazine approach on the lines of People, etc.  What about competing in the state high school journalism contests?  Well that’s just too boring.  The administration likes it his way.  When I was the advisor I was always being called in after the fact–because in CO they couldn’t do it before–to “discuss” certain stories I had allowed to run.  They were concerned parents might read the paper and it would be negative press for them.  In each case, since I had made the students follow correct standards, there was nothing they could do but question my “loyalty” to them.

  • Roger Elder

    Great post. Part of the problem with journalists in the mainstream media is the journalists had to take the path of journalism major in the “in” colleges to even get a job inside the door of mainstream media. We all know who teaches at these colleges. The root cause here is more systemic than most realize. 

  • LindaAnselmi

    Great post Marge!!  And great toon!  

    You’ve really hit on a key issue that is being brought home everyday by the absurd circus of our current media — Our misaligned government is aided and abetted by our misaligned media.  And we can’t get back the former without reclaiming the latter!

  • FormerLiberal9

    Very good article Marge. Thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/MarvinMarks Marvin Marks

    The probably with the mainstream media is that it doesn’t call people out on their lies & BS. It just shows “two sides of the story” and lets them battle it out… but without ever really calling people out when they are full of it. It lets people get away with “it wasn’t intended as a factual statement.” It lets Republicans talk about “ObamaCare” as a socialist plot … even though those same politicians supported it not long before.

    The idea that the mainstream media is biased towards liberalism is nonsense.

    • FormerLiberal9

       Earth to Marvin!!!! You are so full of it, even members of the MSM believe for the most part the media slants left.

      • KenoshaMarge

        Exactly. And the JournOlist which was the absolute proof never existed either.

        “None so blind as those who will not see.”

        Or “Often Usually in error but never in doubt” works too.

        Or it’s just another damn brainless troll.

    • Dolly Cain

      Those of us that have been alive longer than you disagree.  When GWB launched wars the MSM was outraged.  There were multiple anti-war marches. There were movies and documentaries. Now that Obama is doing the same – not so much.

    • Hokma

      “The idea that the mainstream media is biased towards liberalism is nonsense.”

      The level of ignorance of this comment is familiar – - – PPAA.

      • wylrae

        Hokma,

        I read a lot of blogs and with many of the posts (i.e., PPAA’s, etc.) I am reminded of a saying I ran across several years ago: “Intelligence is like a river — the deeper it runs the quieter it is.”  For the most part I find PPAA’s posts to be quite noisy!

        • Hokma

          That’s a keeper.

    • MissMalevolent

      You’re a hilarious liar. It is quite obvious the bias is there for Obama.

    • KenoshaMarge

      The idea that it isn’t is nonsense. Their slobbering love affair with Obama is so obvious even you should have been able to see it. You chose partisanship over honesty. Your bad.

    • Anthony_1

      “The idea that the mainstream media is biased towards liberalism is nonsense.”

      Bitch, please…

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_W6RLFUOLWP23SJ5RQHENEPHKME David L

      Pull your head out of your ass !! the MSM is nothing more than entertainers giving their slanted views to the ignorant masses.  There are no real journalists in newscasting today.  The MSM has the same creditibility as the WWF and Vince McMahon  !!!