I’m on the run, so I’m catching CNN and MSNBC. Watching a variety. Olberman, Oreilly, etc.
Olbermann is the media darling of liberals, and some of his rants are worth watching (especially his piece on habeas corpus). But his selection of subject matter is just as biased as Oreilly; that’s the way you strip away truth from the news: present a series of carefully selected items, all of which reinforce your political beliefs. There are times when I appreciate that; believe me, I do, but these shows are–what, an hour long? You aren’t watching political criticism; you are watching commercials for Right On (Apply directly to your stupidity), car commercials, etc. These shows just don’t contain a lot of content; they are more about setting agenda and talking points. I guess it’s unrealistic to expect these shows to give a wrapup on the level of BBC/PBS news. Still one can’t help wondering if you could get the same amount of news by spending 15 minutes reading the newspaper or a well informed blog such as Easter Lemming Liberal or Matthew Yglesias or Lew Rockwell.
That said, although occasionally I’m offended by Oreilly’s comments, I don’t think they are ruining the country; they only reinforce the alternate hysterical reality suggested in films like Network. But turn the channel sometime; there’s a lot on these days. The most disturbing thing is that multbillion dollar corporations are giving these partisans prime time slots. Do Americans prefer their news predigested?
The other issue is access; it’s becoming harder to find good news sources. Everything is only a google click away (and truthfully, google news does a pretty good job at aggregating news). Even in the past, network news was reliable and relatively interesting. Instead though, many Americans just turn on the TV for news, assuming (incorrectly) that if it’s on a major station, it must have more credibility. The default choices for the lazy American is almost always the worst one.