Do the media control our politics or does the politics control the media? I think that’s a fair question. Many news outlets are always looking for “the story” to report and compete very hard to be the first with the “breaking news”. While I think that there is nothing wrong with that, I do think that making the news sound more intriguing than the story really is smells of nothing but wrong.
Reporters, commentators, journalist and pundits sometimes add something to a story to make it sound bigger than it really is. Maybe I just miss the days when the story was reported without emphasis on one part or another and the public decided its importance. As the legendary reporter, Walter Cronkite would say, “report the facts and let the people be the judge”. What’s happening in Washington would be just as interesting for those who wish to keep informed without the pumping up of the story. No one has to tell me how important this healthcare debate is in order for me to watch the latest saga but making it sound like life or death only makes me want to change the channel. I can care less that a famous person was spotted buying a cheeseburger but I want to know if my congress member is doing the job that I sent them to do.
I’ve seen so many interviews where the politician was on to answer something that was said by another person. That’s not news to me. Politicians should be allowed to explain their position on a specific topic but whether two people can not get along is not news-worthy. A person’s particular opinion is worth listening to but it does not determine my choices or help make my decision on how I feel about anything. We all can learn from listening to the many different thoughts on a subject but when it begins to be an all or nothing type atmosphere, then I think we have gone too far. Before you can expect anyone to hear what you have to say, you must first be willing to listen to what they are saying.
The media calls it “fear-mongering” when all you hear is life or death results to issues some might think is bad for this country but I have to ask what they call it when it’s them who are playing the “life or death card”. We have to be firm yet fair when it comes to reporting the news. The American public is smart enough to figure out what’s vital and important. All we require is to know what’s going on, not how to feel about it. Give us as much of the facts about the story as you can and then allow us to discuss its relevance. Classic example was recently a representative from the State of Illinois spoke on camera and said that bringing those from GITMO to Illinois would cause other terrorist to travel to Illinois for visits, but no reporter or news person ever corrected him informing the public that the Department of Defense (DOD) facilities do not allow visitors and the portion of the prison which would house those GITMO transplants would be controlled by DOD. That’s the kind of information the public needs to know so that we can make an informed decision on where we stand. Not providing that information says more about the media than it does about the uninformed public.