Fair And Balanced – Why?

I’ve been through a lot of presidential campaigns. I am old. I even remember watching the Republican national convention with my family when Eisenhower was nominated. Our TV had a small black and white screen and was subject to weather interruptions affecting our antenna. No, we didn’t have cable back then.

It was before the Internet and not even the most enlightened science fiction writer had conceived of the idea of Tweets. Yes, it was a simple time, but, there was a truth in that simplicity that is sorely lacking in today’s media.

It seems that the major news services, CNN, et.al. are content to allow the general public, or worse, party hacks to formulate the news delivered to the general public. Our news services have fallen so far down the black hole of hyperbole and innuendo that they are allowing anyone with a phone or Skype account to be a credible news source, and therefore have an audience.

In the interest of “fair and balanced”, a phrase coined by the most unfair and unbalanced agency out there, news agencies have abdicated their responsibility to provide their viewership with the thing we crave the most, the truth. The abdication has come over a period of time, but it has risen to levels invoking the gag reflex in this campaign.

Candidates and surrogates are allowed to go before a national audience and spin lies while hiding under a smoke screen of obfuscation. Where are the investigators, the truth tellers? Where are the Edward R. Murrows, the Walter Cronkites of the millennial generation? Why is everything that we see on the news presented in a manner that invokes “he said, she said” scenarios that are never resolved?

Are high ratings the only consideration for today’s news services? Is providing a format for the deranged and delusional the primary interest in presenting a topic? I see the journalistic imperative that requires a rebuttal to a breaking news item, such as a video tape of a candidate taking a bribe or such, but where does it say the anchor has to allow the rebuttal to include not only a response to the news item, but a response that attacks some other issue? Have today’s anchors not learned the term “diverting”, or is ignoring the diversion their way of keeping the viewership of the accused party?

Allow me to oversimplify. Chicken Little goes into the barnyard proclaiming, “the sky is falling, the sky is falling”. Stalwart reporter, Bob the Burro, looks out from his shed and determines that there is no immediate evidence at hand that the sky is falling. He then interviews other members of the barnyard in different locales to determine if they have experienced any “sky falling” activity. Next he investigates the personal history of Chicken Little and determines that Chicken Little has been under psychiatric care for some time due to “flights” of fantasy.

At no time would Bob the Burro seek to find a Chicken Little apologist that would attempt to explain what Chicken Little really meant. At no time would Bob the Burro seek to find an “expert” that could give credence to the possibility that the sky could fall. Bob the Burro knows that it’s not in his purview to make a story, it’s to present the facts of the story he’s been given.

If only our current news agencies were as smart as Bob the Burro.

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