Friday, January 10, 2003

Ah Public Citizen, you bring up a good point to which I have often wondered about but have no answer;
I've also thought a lot about how there is really over-participation by a few people and almost none by most people. Most people get their news from their local tv station. It's basically the local police blotter and the most recent fires but lacks any real substance. I hate falling back into the whole complaint that everything is the media's fault, but what exactly is their role? What happened to true investigative reporting and attempts to keep government honest through good journalism? I don't know what the true answer is to this. What really bothers me about it is that those that have the most to lose (usually the poor and undereducated) are the least likely to pay attention and participate. - Public Citizen


My issue I often wonder about is this - Is it Big Media's laziness or cost cutting measures that makes our news so pathetic, or is that Big Media give us exactly what we want? Is that why our news sucks as bad as it does?

It's sort of a chicken and egg quandry I have thought about but have yet to come to any conclusions. I too have become an information junkie getting my fix from NPR, Salon.com, Slate.com, and Frontline on PBS, among other news sources. I am so chock full of information that I often refer to myself as some sort of twisted variation of Cliff Claven, (FYI Cliff being the character on the TV show Cheers, the US Postal worker who was always spouting uselss info about everything) I consider myself somewhat more interesting, but not by all that much.

My point being is there are good sources for information, (even if the best sources occasionally lower the Lowest Common Denominator on occasion, as did NPR's All Things Considered when they mention the Winona Ryder case) but just because they are available doesn't mean people are going to be interested in it, or have the patience for it. Last time it was mentioned I thought I heard the listenership for NPR was (don't quote me on this, I could be wrong) about 2.5 millions. That's less than 1% of this country, although it is about 2.5% of the voting electorate. While many people consider NPR to be one of the more intelligent, in-depth and reliable news sources out there, there are many who would disagree with them. Quite a few people out there who are knowledgable of politics (i.e. conservatives) find NPR to be a regular commiter of that ever present dread, the so called "liberal bias". The rest have given up on politics completely, people like my Grandmother.

I cannot help but think of the recent lawsuit against McDonalds, how they are responsible for making a couple of youngsters fat. One of the charges levied agains the Big Micky Dees is that they don't have enough healthy choices in their restaraunts. Let's say they did have those choices available. Who's to say those same overweight kids leveling the lawsuit would have ordered those "healthier" food items while eating at Mc'D's? At what point is someone responsible for what they put in their body (junk food like Big Macs), or their mind (junk news like Winona Ryder). The stuff is out there, the question how much is the population at large interested in that type of news?

It's a ripe subject for discussion, but as usual I am short on time and must get going. More on this during the weekend.

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