I remember when I stopped watching Bob Costas shows. Costas aired a show on steroids in baseball, an area that has been dominated by ignorance, poor conjecture, and icon driven news, and a topic I want to hear more about. Unfortunately, Bob Costas regurgitated the same old fluff, and I was left longing.
Since then, Costas has ranted against internet reporters, and hosted a show where a guest ranted about internet reporters. These rants were nothing new, many corporate media reporters spout similarly. I heard Dan Rather and other ‘serious’ news reporters say pretty much the same, only without the hate of Costas and his guest. The same underlying message in each complaint is this:
- Internet information is not as sophisticated, accurate, nor well thought out as mainstream media
- People from mainstream media are more versed in their craft and are less hateful and opinionated than internet people
- It’s frustrating that people are turning to internet for news and info, when ‘we’ are so much better, sophisticated, and intelligent than they are.
That is their basic message, and they are mainly wrong on all 3. I’ll provide some quotes from them to show they clearly believe this, but they are endless if you want to search for yourself.
“But it’s one thing if somebody just sets up a blog from their mother’s basement in Albuquerque and they are who they are, and they’re a pathetic get-a-life loser, but now that pathetic get-a-life loser can piggyback onto someone who actually has some level of professional accountability and they can be comment No. 17 on Dan Le Batard’s column or Bernie Miklasz’ column in St. Louis. That, in most cases, grants a forum to somebody who has no particular insight or responsibility. Most of it is a combination of ignorance or invective.” …
“It’s just a high-tech place for idiots to do what they used to do on bar stools or in school yards, if they were school yard bullies, or on men’s room walls in gas stations. That doesn’t mean that anyone with half a brain should respect it.”
Bob Costas’ guest, Buzz Bissinger:
“I don’t take back a word of what I said. I have a tremendous amount of problems with blogs. It doesn’t mean all blogs are bad. It doesn’t mean I’m against free speech, because I’m not.
The reason for it was is that I really care about this passionately, because, you know, I think blogs are a threat, not a threat to old school, it’s not a threat to M-M-S’es, as they call it, the mainstream media, it’s a threat to writing and reporting, which is what I’ve done for 40 years and what many people have done better than me.
It’s not all just about what flies into your head, and let’s, you know, put it down, and let’s be nasty and mean-spirited and hope we get as many posts and comments as we can so traffic increases and then, bingo-bango, we make some money. That’s not what it’s about.”
(I assume that people know to click on the highlighted words for links supporting the text. The last is from Sports by Brooks, a very good sports news site)
I will grant mainstream reporters that many of them are very hard working and skilled in formatting messages. But their accuracy and scope of information is severly lacking. Internet communication has evolved from simple messages to a complex system of global news gathering and dissemination, and it is still evolving. Somewhere early in that evolution, people realized that the most important news to their lives is completely being ignored or misrepresented by mainstream news. Mainstram media is losing their audience rapidly because they refuse to compete with regard to accuracy. It is their choice.
Want examples? The illegal invasion of Iraq was fradulently portrayed in mainstream media. This was reported by the New York Times only recently, but ignored elsewhere. If you read Glen Greenwald’s excellent articles on this topic, you will find him begging for the mainstream media to cover stories like this. Instead, they refuse to publish pertinant info, and instead blame others.
The amount of carcinogens and contamination in the air, meat, vegetables, and water – due to large corporations tweaking profits, is not on mainstream news even though they are quite aware of it. I can find good info on that vastly important topic through the internet and libraries – but not TV.
Ralph Nader, Noam Chomsky, and other intellectuals have needed points to make about the issues facing America that need to be overcome to retain a healthy society. But you have to use the internet to find them, mainstream media won’t cover it.
Costas and the rest can argue all they want, but the only audience they will receive is from they heavily marketed corporate structure. If we ‘bloggers’ had the same national advertising revenue and broadcast TV rights, you would never hear of Costas. Then maybe, as Costas types from his Mother’s basement – maybe we will hear some real news.
Note: The graph at the top is from the ‘state of the news media’ 2008 edition, and shows the number of evening news viewers from 1980 to 2007.