Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Why I Am No Longer A Journalism Student

Just read a piece in Common Dreams that has helped me to understand my decision (for the moment) to give up on my degree in journalism.

And no, it's not because I can't type that well.

As the Obama administration begins its "well-choreographed" first weeks, using the political capital they have right now to do what they can do, more and more news outlets (including the old standby, NPR) still let people say stuff that is outright stupid, misinformed, or wrong, and the only counter the other side might have is simply the opposite viewpoint.

And then, there are the facts. Which might prove both sides of the argument wrong, but at least there can be facts, can't there? Noooo. Just each person's view of the facts. That's called "balance." Because news shouldn't be confrontational, should it? Challenging the person in front of you to recite the facts of the case, rather than the truth? Or do we have to wait for the courts to decide that news is supposed to be in the public interest?

As John Adams once said, "Facts are stubborn things." And he was right. Facts are the things that are, that can be proved, than can be seen. Truth is simply one's relationship to the facts. I watched a compilation from the Daily Show of all of the talking head news about the Obamas and all the different reasons given by the right-wing media about why Obama was the wrong choice. Fist bumps, affiliations with terrorists, the Muslim thing, "halfrican," etc., etc., etc. And it was funny, while being equally infuriating and sad. How can these people still be receiving a paycheck? How stupid do they think we are?

Oh, yeah - they think we're really stupid. And we must be, because we still let these airheads sell us news and push the dictation of public policy that's nearly suicidal in it's insanity. As Ronald Reagan said (quoting Adams): "Facts are stupid things."

As the article in Common Dreams asked, "And why do the Jews deserve to die, Mr. Hitler?"

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