Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Crazed New Media World We Live In

Proof of the age of tabloidization:

I was shocked to see this article run in the LA Times about a blogger actually calling for more gossip in legitimate news sources such as the LA Times.

Mickey Kaus, a blogger for, wrote:

"Some blame the sunny climate for our apathetic political structure. Some blame the distraction of the colorful entertainment industry. I blame the stuffy aversion to gossip of the region's dominant newspaper."

NPR commented on the article saying:

"The insult seemed to inspire as much as sting: The Times' top editor, John S. Carroll, sent out a memo soon after Kaus' column appeared, encouraging the staff to weigh his concerns seriously."

To think this was actually taken seriously shows how far newspapers and the general media have gone from their original purpose of giving the people unbiased, unpartisan, truthful and fair news in the country they live in.

We live in an age where anyone can be a published writer (living proof by me writing this blog). But if uneducated and uninformed contestants can write and be published in a venue as respected as the L.A. Times, what is the cost to society and its culture?

Mickey goes on to write:

"People will care about politicians they know something juicy about, and they will want to know something juicy about politicians they care about...Pulitzer Prizes aren't going to transform L.A.'s political culture. Gossip might."

It definitely will change the culture. For the worse.


And it already has in the case of the Lewinsky scandal.

In Bruce Williams and Michael Carpini's article "Monica and Bill All the Time and Everywhere: The Collapse of Gatekeeping and Agenda Setting in the New Media Environment," they explain how nonmainstream press (tabloids, Internet reporting, talk shows, etc.) was able to influence mainstream press into reporting the sex scandal.

To summarize:

"In short, the 6-year period from the publication of the Star expose to the publication of the Starr report, mainstream journalism lost its position as the central gatekeeper of the nation's political agenda. The mainstream news media attempted to play its traditional role and found that the political agenda was being set without them."

It all changed and now the line between news and entertainment has been blurred if not completely removed.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry your Q/A period got cut a little short Thursday.

    I think you made about the 24-hour news cycle. For several generations, "News" was something you watched between 5-6 p.m every day. People tuned in to find out what had happened during the day, then had dinner. To get people to watch "news" all day, you need to hype up something "juicy," even if it's irrelevant.

    On a related note, CBS pays tribute to a master:

    Walter Cronkite Dies at 92.