Video- Creating *Uninformed Consumers* -The CNN v Trump Cage Match
19 July 2017 at 7:42:52 AM
I've been watching the CNN v Trump debacle from a bemused point of view. In this family, we quit watching cable *news* some years back. Doesn't mean I don't still occasionally watch clips from cable/sat outlets like CNN, but for the most part I avoid it. Why? Because I didn't like how smarmy all the outlets felt that had rosters of talking heads discussing whatever, most certainly, some boss at the *news* outlet decided should be discussed that day... endlessly. The regular pundits are paid to come on, as part of the program and become semi-celebrities themselves. I wanted, and still want, to see news where the person delivering the news is in the background, where the news itself stands out and can be analyzed without the outlet muddying the waters. When CNN, NBC, MSNBC, FOX, ABC become the story AS the outlet, those of us that want attention paid to other things that go on that WILL directly affect us suffer.
I see all the time comments like "While you were watching CNN, Congress was pushing through this horrible bill" as if people cannot watch or listen to at least 2 things. The problem isn't that CNN doesn't push distractions, it's that people get caught up in watching the distractions because that's what they want to do. If CNN had low marketing value, and very few people watched, and decided to watch something drier, less sensational and not focused on who is winning a wrestling match, we'd all be better served. But what happens is that people like the excitement, CNN likes the conflict ABOUT THEMSELVES because it pushes up their viewership and allows people to take sides, like a football game. So the comments to tell people "This is a distraction" are necessary but do they even work if people like the fluff and conflict?
The reason not to watch CNN is not "fake news", whatever that means. Trump is a purveyor of fake news himself, constantly, so his take has to be more to demonize any outlet that doesn't tell stories about himself the way he wants, period. Thus, he can't be taken seriously except as a thug and a bully. The reason not to watch CNN is because their real role is to get ratings for their advertisers. Otherwise, why in the world did they play the rallies of Donald Trump, in their entirety, so often, while excluding Bernie Sanders or other nominees during the electoin season? Not because it was good journalisim, but because a lot of people wanted to watch crazy old Donald Trump, with most secure in the later mistaken knowledge that there was no way that crackpot could become president. In the meantime, they themselves played a role by overplaying Trump and giving him tons of free media exposure.
I am old enough to remember the news as it once was. That included a daily newspaper and a nightly news program on teevee to recap the day. The news person read the news and didn't put in commentary. If there WAS commentary, it was clearly labeled as such, with a disclaimer that the person speaking his or her opinion didn't necessarily represent the views of the station. Cable/Sat doesn't operate under public broadcasting rules so they can do what they like and there not only is not a clear definition between news and opinion, they're all stirred up together with the same brush and quite often with the news celebrity being the story (ie, "Look what so and so said to smack down so and so".
One of the issues, and media can't be fixed as long as this is 1, is media consolidation. When you have a media corporation that also owns newspapers, radio, PR machines, etc, and especially when owned by corporations that have their own marketing perspectives, we can't be certain that we are hearing or seeing an unvarnished version or even seeing any version of news. For example, if a corporation manufactures war implements, what incentive does it have to help turn public opinion against wars of choice in other countries? Doing so would hurt its bottom line.
I read today that CNN had apparently bullied a teenage boy who was highly irresponsible on social media by threatening to dox him (publish his real name) if he didn't shape up and quit posting bigoted and racist crap. I am disgusted by that that 15 year old boy did,make no mistake, and not making even one excuse for him, but he did apologize and remove all his awful postings. Update: Apparently it's a middle aged man, not a teenager, but the idea of whether it is okay for a *news* outlet to dox someone still stands.
After posting his apology, "HanA**holdSolo" called CNN's KFile and confirmed his identity. In the interview, "HanA**holdSol" sounded nervous about his identity being revealed and asked to not be named out of fear for his personal safety and for the pubilc embarrassment it would bring to him and his family.
CNN is not publishing "HanA**holdSolo's" name because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remose by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again. In addition, he said his statement could serve as an example to others not to do the same.
CNN reserves the right to publish his identify should any of that change.
So, essentially, CNN is acting as a parent and not as journalists, by making moral contingencies about this story and threatening to put this kids' name in the public domain if he doesn't live up to his apology. I'm NOT on the far right, far from it, but I find this offensive. If CNN was journalism, they would simply report the news and not make moral deals behind the scenes, with implied threats. In other words, either tell that kids real name and what he did, or just shut up about it, but don't tell the kid you're going to out him... that's a threat and that's blackmail on quasi-ethical grounds.
The following video has the 5 filters from Noam Chomsky regarding mass media, and the role of creating uniformed consumers.
Gets back again to we have a choice in what we want to read or watch. I don't want to watch CNN. I also don't want to watch Trump, as he is a huge irresponsible liar. It isn't like some kind of seesaw choice, If CNN is bad, then Trump must be good. Both can be bad for different reasons, but we all suffer and are uninformed when we see CNN v Trump as good v evil, or right v wrong and believe we must take sides.