Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ebert Discusses Discussion

Roger Ebert's latest blog posting hits upon one of my favorite topics with the strength of a sledgehammer and the aim of a laser. His main point -- that our news has degenerated into a swill of yelling and uncivil discourse. That this lack of civility has become dangerous -- especially compared to times past.

I've spent a lot of time talking on this blog about this very issue. Whether or not you agree with the likes of Keith Olbermann, Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly, is irrelevant (and not the focus here). It's their technique -- their polarizing speech and the way they make the news more about propaganda than about level, balanced discourse. Our society is in danger of being polarized into groups of people that are more and more informed by people who are less and less informative. The anger is obvious. Keith O spent miles of airwave ranting against Bush. Bill O is now doing something similar -- his party didn't win, so he's going to spike the punch, that's my opinion. Spend some time (it doesn't take much effort) searching on YouTube for "shut up" video with Bill in it -- what he's doing is unpatriotic by his own measure. We're supposed to support our president, etc, etc.

I've had enough of this kind of partisan stupidity. Dialog -- quiet, carefully thought through actions, serious planning and lucid introspection of America is now in order. We're in a crisis of massive proportions, and these people and their obviously hate-mongering methods are not helping.

Roger Ebert says it better than I do. Read his blog for a really good breakdown of the present news break-down.

No, I don't know the fix to this problem. Given the fact that things like Rush and Bill sell really well these days, it's hard to imagine what fix is in order. I do know, however, that what we have is broken. Our media and the lack of local news coverage, the lack of independent voice and the popularity of junk news is a disease. We need the balanced clear voices of a truly moral news media to balance our democracy.

I shudder at the thought of a media run by the government (or even regulated). The fact is that somehow our society needs to come up with a way to pay for truly "fair and balanced" news reporting (in the strict, true sense here). The fact is that I don't want the government to do this for us. The fact is that corporate media has illustrated, really well for that matter, that they're not up to the task either.

How might this be accomplished in a democracy where free speech is supposed to be the order of the day?

Thoughts welcome,


ackmac said...


Well said; thanks for linking us to Ebert's thoughts.

How about "Naked News" for an equalizer? Naked used as a catch-word like free in free software. Of course the other naked might be entertaining with the right anchor.

FeriCyde said...

Well, someone beat you to this thought back in 2001 (made some big headlines at the time, don't know if they're still at it).

Funding was probably fixed though -- you have a point there ...

Here's the problem with this fix though -- picture the well-seasoned news reporters in their 50's, 60's and so on -- yeah, it's not going to be a long-term career for the best reporters.

I'm certain that whatever solution does work will involve the freedom brought on by the Internet, just not certain how it's gonna get paid for.

A porn tax that goes into a pool similar to the way that gasoline tax is used to help take care of the roadway?

I mean, the Internet traffic breakdown could be easily analyzed for content overall and the people selling bad things over it (like porn) could be taxed to fund a broad local news delivery system (again, though, the government would have a role).

It's a thought.