An article in last week’s Time magazine examining the way that the fringe elements of both parties get their fake news, conspiracy theories and outright parody thinly disguised as news was a sobering read.
The writers found people on both sides of the political fence who had strongly held beliefs that were based on stories from The Onion and other satirical websites which they had accepted as gospel truth.
Let’s look at that again: These people, who I’ll remind you are allowed to vote, drive, make babies and otherwise enjoy all the rights and privileges of adults, were cleaving to “facts” they saw written in a SATIRICAL paper. This is akin to getting all your news from the “Weekend Update” segment on “Saturday Night Live.”
But when you look at the success of programs like “The Five” on Fox News, “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central and John Oliver’s hilarious “Last Week Tonight” on HBO, the article becomes somewhat less surprising. Those on the left and right have become ideologically lazy, seeking out talking heads who echo their own beliefs and let them sit in their comfort zones rather than giving any sort of critical examination to the issues screaming for attention before the nation today.
Of course, if our “real” news sources would cover a bit less Kardashian and a bit more Kabul, it might not be quite so easy for the American public to be distracted by shiny shouters. I had long ago abandoned “Today” and “Good Morning America” in the mornings in favor of the more staid CBS offering, but now even that bastion is full of various celebutards and other spotlight seekers giving puff piece interviews to Charlie Rose (who always looks vaguely like he’s leering) and the rest of the crew.
We need another Edward R. Murrow, someone to whip the news business back into shape, trounce the unvetted fake news of the blogosphere and restore journalism to its glory.