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The (red) meat of the matter; a short rant.

Reported by Chrish - July 30, 2004 -

Shepard Smith, closing up Studio B on July 28, told us to watch his "Fox Report" later that evening for "a lot of news in the War on Terror today, we'll keep you updated on the criminal matters, some political coverage as well..." By my count, his previous hour in Studio B allotted 7:35 to Iraq (aka War on terror), 13:15 to convention/political coverage, 5:40 to other miscellaneous including weather, and 13:30 to "criminal matters" Lori, Kobe, and MJ (no Laci today...safe to assume court was not in session. I'm sure someone will tell me if I'm incorrect.)

Comment: This really gets to the heart of the media problem for me. If the stories that really matter to you and me were covered as thoroughly from start to finish as these "criminal matters", in particular, there'd be no need for Outfoxed or media monitors or Media Matters for America. When we get 21 minutes of a "news" hour devoted to an upcoming election and an ongoing war and the same amount devoted to celebrity miscreants and personal tragedies, we are not being well-served by the fourth estate. The only reason we get coverage of the conventions are because they are events, spectacles. When they're both over we won't see any meaningful reporting on policy issues and the campaigns. It's ALL behind the scenes anymore. The powers that be (the marketing wonks) have determined that civics and government are boring and Americans are essentially fat, dumb and happy and want to stay that way, so we are fed a diet of fluff and infotainment sprinkled with jingoistic propaganda.

This is not just an FNC problem, it's all the major media fighting over viewers who apparently DO want to be entertained and scandalized. (Fox just does it most shamelessly, particulary the jingo bit). In my opinion it begins with the methods of American public education, where students are spoon-fed tidbits and then tested to see how well they can regurgitate. Children are discouraged from thinking outside the narrow confines of the test, and are literally taught on timers. Anyone getting into an area of study is quickly yanked from it and told to move on to the next subject/class. All they learn is that nothing academic is important, what they are interested in does not matter, what matters is the program and the schedule and these 100 facts. No wonder so many kids hate school and tune out.

Thinking, engaged, curious people are bored and frustrated by what passes for "news". It's too bad that what could have been the most elevating, educational resource in America has turned into such a dump.