Sunday, December 06, 2009

Enough already

It is common knowledge that in August the French government pushes through unpopular laws when many citizens are on vacation. The newspapers are shorter, they contains larger word game and chess sections, and most of the articles focus on emergency airlifts of injured swimmers from various beach across the country. I am not even sure that France legislative branch is in session in the summer but the point should be well taken.

Similarly, what subjects news organizations decide to focus on directly influences political attempts to improve quality of life, provide better services, and fulfill the values that are dear to this country's citizens. For 3 weeks in November and December, this country was force-fed Tiger Wood's extramarital activities and news organizations are entirely to blame. The New York Post, in an extreme case of bad judgment, decided to put this evolving vulgar story on its cover for more than 15 days in a row. Please. Similarly, the story of party crashers at the White House has filled a disgusting number of articles, opinion pages, and TV reports.

While newspapers are focusing on Tiger's love life, our legislative branch has been on the brink of a historic health care reform. There has been a remarkable debate happening at the highest level of our government about the best way to serve this country's citizens. There are many subtleties of this debate and it does not translate easily into a slogan, but this story is significant. And yet some news organizations would prefer to ignore this debate or at least to relegate it to page 4.

The cynical part of me thinks that this is an ideological decision to downplay the importance of this reform. The extreme right-wingers, through misinformation and fear-mongering, have successfully polarized the debate so much that perhaps it is a bit of a hot potato. However, it may also just be journalistic laziness. It is of course much easier not to do research on a real story and just write about what everyone else is talking about. Either way. I have had enough and wish people would stop supporting news organization whose priorities are so off base.

No comments:

Post a Comment