If you’re like me, you grew up in the “television era”, and it was pretty special. You got to witness the assassination of John Kennedy. You got to watch man step on the moon (live). You got to watch the first president in the history of this country resign from office. There were a ton of historical events that you got to watch. And of course, if you are older than I am, you are part of the “newspaper generation”. You either started or ended your day (or both) sitting down with the paper and reading all about the days’ events.
That has apparently gone the way of the Do-Do bird. According to a story in the Washington Examiner (read it here: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/gallup-confidence-in-newspapers-at-all-time-low-congress-worse/article/2593711) television and newspaper have hit pretty much rock bottom when it comes to how much we trust them. Over the past ten years, both media lost 10 points in the trust category. TV fell from 31-21% feeling it was trustworthy. Newspapers close behind falling from 30-20%. Only Big Business (which remained flat), and Congress (which also lost 10%) were worse.
What this tells me is that the polarization of the media based on political views is actually having the opposite of the intended effect. If you go back 50 years ago, the Cronkite’s and Huntley/Brinkley’s of the world never let on which party they voted for or how they leaned politically. They gave the news honestly and fairly. The New York Times was the Godfather of all news. It was honest, straight-forward, and without bias either way. Now, network TV news is slanted left, the New York Times might as well be printed in Venezuela. And the cable news channels are no better. CNN, HNN, MSNBC are all left-wing mouth-pieces, while Fox News claims to be “Fair and Balanced”, they lean more to the right than any of the others.
Talk radio (which wasn’t mentioned in the survey by the way), is almost universally right-wing. Where TV has gone heavy in the liberal direction, conservatives own the radio waves almost without exception. Oh, there as “Air America”, the liberal start up that crashed and burned very quickly. And you get some liberal hosts from time to time like Alan Coombs who show up but usually have poor ratings, even in liberal markets.
Newspapers have gone the way of television, almost trying to compete with TV to see who can be more liberal. And, as is always the case with media, there is a life-cycle…kind of like the circle of life from The Lion King. A new medium is born, it thrives, it falters, and is replaced with something else, and it has to find a way to become “re-born” into something else. Newspapers did it with in-depth coverage when radio came along. Radio did it with music when TV came along, and TV is trying to do it since the invasion of satellite TV, the internet, and cable channels. It hasn’t succeeded and its slide has been long and slow and painful to watch. And yes…something will happen to the newest medium eventually… the internet. Something somewhere will replace it and cause it to be re-born as well.
Embrace the change my friends. It’s the only constant in life!
Carry on world…you’re dismissed!