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A plane crashed in Germany last week. I will spare you the details, and if you’ve been watching CNN lately you’ll already know more about the crash than you ever wanted to. Therein lies the biggest problem with the media–they give you what they want you to see instead of what you need to see.
CNN similarly spent way too much time covering the two Malaysian plane disasters last year, in which one airliner disappeared and was shot down over Ukraine. They spent endless time and money showing people digital simulators, piles of ocean trash and holographic reporters than covering any substantial news.
Apparently, people love plane crashes–otherwise CNN wouldn’t spend so much precious time covering them exclusively. I knew as soon as I saw the headline about the Germanwings crash that CNN would be occupied for the next few months.
Its one thing to follow a lead thoroughly as a story develops, but a different matter to frivolously pick apart a story to generate viewership. This is a huge issue that no one seems to be bothered by. Other networks are just as guilty in their own special ways.
Fox News, for example, is terrible.
Fox is the most infantile, offensive, uninformed myriad of racist undertones in America. Fox News does not conduct interviews–they have pundits masquerading as ethical journalists who engage in one-sided shouting matches with their guests.
The most prominent iconoclasts on the network are Bill O’Reilley and Sean Hannity. These two have a unique interviewing style that I’ve affectionately dubbed “The Fox News Ultimatum.” Essentially, one of the aforementioned hosts will invite a guest with opposing views, berate them, yell over them like kindergarteners and eventually reach the ultimatum.The ultimatum consists of either Sean or Bill demanding that their guest answer a complex question in a black-and-white manner that doesn’t remotely allow for the complexity of the issue in question to be unraveled.
When the guests try to explain themselves, they are immediately shut down. Is this journalism? Is this how we conduct interviews?
We don’t have news in this country anymore–we have opinionated pundits who cater to the ignorance of the masses. People don’t tune in to the news to be informed anymore-they tune in to have their own views validated. Opinions unchallenged are a dangerous thing.
While the landscape of journalism may seem bleak, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for broadcast news.
VICE is expanding its show from a once a week 30-minute segment to a daily-uncensored network on HBO. This is great news–pun unintended–yet graciously accepted. VICE magazine may put out a lot of trivial garbage churned out by hipsters with misguidedly lofty opinions of themselves (see “I ate nothing but Nutella for a week and found my inner darkness“), but the VICE documentaries on HBO are unprecedented pieces of journalistic excellence. They do it all, from rehydrating mummified corpses for forensic purposes to discussing possible cures for cancer.
This is what we need, and it’s up to the viewer to be informed enough to demand real news.
As enticing as it may be at times to lock in on one story that viewers might find intriguing, its important to remember that there is an entire world full of news that effects us all. In this rapidly expanding technological age, global news has become more accessible and pertinent to every citizen than it has ever been. Lets get back to the basics–pure objective journalism.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Drew Chowbay at firstname.lastname@example.org