“geyser of mendacious vomit”

Remember “journalism”? I have this vague recollection from the distant past that it was an occupation with standards and a noble calling, but I may have been confusing reality with Spencer Tracy and Kate Hepburn movies. Unfortunately, right now television newscasting (and the New York Times) is doing it’s best to flush what reputation it had down the sewer, and is doing so at the worst possible time.

At least we’ve still got Samantha Bee and a few print journalists doing their best to do what journalists are supposed to do.

I bet there’s a book somewhere that discusses the corrupting influence of television “news” and the crappy 24 hour “news” shows on good journalism.


  1. says

    I guess one good thing about the internet is that it’s killing off the old media establishment. Then, the new media will implode when everyone finally starts running ad-blockers. The problem is, then what?

  2. cartomancer says

    The inimitable Charlie Brooker made a programme about it back in 2007 (albeit focused on British news reporting)

  3. robro says

    Remember “journalism”?

    Sure, how could I forget. I’m married to one. She would take exception to conflating journalism with television newscasting, because your right, I think, about TV’s “corrupting influence.” There are plenty of descent journalists around, but television is how most people get the form of entertainment they call “news” and all the propaganda that comes with it. The answer to all of that is turn off your TV and read news from different sources. I’m sure that’s what you do.

    …confusing reality with Spencer Tracy and Kate Hepburn movies.

    I think it’s primarily one movie, specifically Woman of the Year, where he plays a sports writer. A fine film and somewhat advanced for portraying a woman with international political influence. On the other hand, there is that last damn bit where Hepburn does her finest Lucy and the long-suffering Spence rescues the day, as the men always have to do. (There is another where he plays a journalist, Keeper of the Flame (1943) but I’ve never seen that one.)

    Marcus…”internet is … killing off the old media establishment.” Maybe, but old media has moved very quickly onto the internet. And the primary new media is Fox News, so I’m not sure we’ve won much ground.

  4. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    “primarily one movie, specifically Woman of the Year,
    all I thought of was His Girl Friday. about a female ace reporter (dot)(dot)(dot).
    yeah, too many TVnews have become “shows”, where news is presented as a form of entertainment; regardless of the relevance to the viewers. We watch to be shocked, scared,horrified, disgusted,etc.

    we are awful for buying the products advertised during such programs. That’s why I prefer PBS NewsHour where commercials are unnecessary. Regardless of any correlation between product sales and news commercials, the fact that advertisers sponsor News, looks real suspicious.
    That must be why Jon Stewart so sarcastically did those “insults” at Arby disguised as product placement.
    (Morning Jo, comes to mind *smirk*)
    All Things Considered (PBS) for me. thank you very much,

  5. taco_emoji says

    Ta-Nehisi Coates:

    The media’s criticism of Clinton’s claim has been matched in vehemence only by their allergy to exploring it. “Candidates should not be sociologists,” glibly asserted David Brooks on Meet The Press. I’m not sure why not, but certainly journalists who broadcast their opinions to the nation should have to evince something more than a superficial curiosity. It is easy enough to look into Clinton’s claim and verify it or falsify it. The numbers are all around us. And the story need not end there. A curious journalist might ask what those numbers mean, or even push further, and ask what it means that the ranks of the Democratic Party are not totally free of their own deplorables.

    Instead what followed was not journalism but, as Jamelle Bouie accurately dubbed it, “theater criticism.” Fournier and Blake’s revulsion at the thought that some 20 percent of the country, in some fashion, fit into that basket is illustrative. Neither made any apparent attempt to investigate the claim. No polling data appears in either piece and no reasons are given for why the estimate is untrue. It simply can’t be true—even if the data says that it actually is.

    Even NPR on Monday morning was talking about the optics of Hillary’s comments and whether or not it was a gaffe and what the poll numbers show and blah blah blah… OK, she said something provocative. Can we talk about why she said it? Can we talk about whether it’s TRUE or not, and about the polls that support her assessment of Trump’s base? Can we talk about how his voters compare to her voters vis-a-vis prejudice? And about how his voters compare to previous GOP candidates?

    No. All we get is wonking about optics and gaffes and fart-in-the-wind variations in poll numbers. No analysis, no insight, no assessment of the content of the candidate’s speeches.

    Politics reporting is indistinguishable from sports reporting now. Just numbers and strategies, as though elections were just an entertaining pastime with no real impact on human lives.

  6. jrkrideau says

    I don’t watch American TV New, well I don’t watch any TV News as I don’t own a TV but it seems even more infantile than ours in Canada and I exclude Fox as it is not really a new channel so much as fantasy land for nutty right-wingers. Why cannot a TV journalist actually ask a hard question? Or even do some real analysis? Ta-Nehisi Coates has the right of it.

    On the other hand a lot of US print journalism seems very good if we ignore things like NYT’s mad support for the Iraq War. Or, actually, most US media’s support. Five minutes of checking almost any media source outside the USA would have shown that the claims of WMD in Iraq were total lies.

    For a refreshing approach to TV/Radio journalism I recommend the BBC’s Hardtalk. I don’t know enough about UK politics to know just how hardhitting it is but difficult questions seem to be asked and the interviewers seem to be very well briefed.

  7. Paul K says

    After reading this post and watching Samantha Bee, I was listening to The Takeaway on NPR on the way to work today. They had a story that initially had me worried: it started with covering the coverage of what Clinton said, with bits about what a gaffe it was, and how it would effect her in the polls. But then they actually questioned that reporting and asked why no one was asking the important question: is what she said true? Then they reported the facts, and questioned why others were not, and even included quotes from the Ta-Nehisi Coates piece.

    It was refreshing, because I have yelled at the radio many times in the past several months (I don’t watch TV). This time, I just said, “Well, okay then.”