TV News is Hurting our Country for a Profit

December 10, 2009
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The days of reliability and objectivity in TV news are long gone. TV news now is a profit-driven monster willing to say anything to attract viewers. This is why popular pundits such as Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann say such outrageous things. By preaching to a particular point of view, TV news has lost its basic sense of credibility.
The recent death of Walter Cronkite, an anchorman for the CBS Evening News for nineteen years, is a reminder that the trustworthy delivery of news once existed. Cronkite reported to the American people and the world on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the Viet Nam War. Cronkite was known by our Grandparent’s generation as “the most trusted man in America.” With this vital trust, Cronkite reported the news of the chaotic times of the Viet Nam era.
Once, a news program’s sole focus was reporting. Now, it is entertainment and the pandering to a particular audience. What else could explain the crazy antics of Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann? It is not because they actually believe what they say. In fact, Beck has stated in an interview, quoted in the New York Times, “I’m a rodeo clown.” He added, “If you take what I say as gospel, you’re an idiot.” And with a slight smile he bragged, “It takes great skill.” Beck and the rest of the TV journalists are showmen, and in some rare cases—self-described rodeo clowns. The showmen on TV today are best understood by Mr. Cronkite’s quote: “Objective journalism and an opinion column are about as similar as the Bible and Playboy magazine.”
These crazy antics can be explained by the change in how networks make money. When Cronkite was anchorman of the CBS Evening News, CBS allowed for their fifteen minute turned thirty minute news program to not make money because they believed news was too important to worry about the bottom line. Since then, more news programs are on more channels on TV—even whole channels are now devoted to news. Network’s now expect news programs to make a profit. With that, news has greatly descended from their previous stature of integrity.
A hold over from the past of journalism does still exist in 60 Minutes. This news program has recently lost the man who built it—the famed Don Hewitt, creator and long-time producer of the show. Hewitt prided his program on its ability to inform, as well as entertain its audience. 60 Minutes should serve as a model for today’s new programs.
TV news’ glorious past of integrity to its viewers is gone, as well as many of the people who made the news so credible. What we can learn from the past is that TV news was not always as ridiculous and ignorant of facts as it is now—a better news once existed and Americans used to benefit. Now networks are making money off of us tearing each other apart.

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This article has 7 comments. Post your own now!

ConstanceContraire said...
May 18, 2012 at 11:23 am
Very well written you shoud check out Frontline for good journalism. 
judybluejeep said...
Jan. 4, 2010 at 4:07 pm
Excellent article! The ideas are presented clearly and concisely, and I agree whole-heartedly. I am stunned when I realize how many people accept the new brand of "News" as objective. When young listeners and viewers are not able to discern the difference between fact and opinion, we risk facing a multitude of possible repercussions for our future. Thank you, Jack, for sharing your passion for such a relevant subject.
jerseyjack21 replied...
Jan. 4, 2010 at 9:25 pm
Yes, unfortunately if us young news-readers accept the current blatantly partisan Tv news, we will be greatly lacking vital information.
PastorScot said...
Jan. 2, 2010 at 8:45 am
Excellent article. Thank you so much. I agree 100%. As the son of a newspaper editor who valued his integrity highly, and considered it his great responsibility to be objective in all things, I am grieved deeply by the lack of objectivity in TV news.
jerseyjack21 replied...
Jan. 2, 2010 at 10:44 am
Thank you for commenting. I too grieve for the subjective and partisan TV news, but I think there is a lot to be hopeful for in the future.
Grannie replied...
Jan. 3, 2010 at 6:02 pm
The article is thoughtful and well-done. Keep up the good work, Jack.
Jack H. said...
Dec. 15, 2009 at 5:44 pm
I am sorry for the formatting problems on my article.
I hope you enjoy it; I really feel that TV news must be objective for our generation to be prosperous.
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