News or show business? January 15th, 2011
As it is an outlet for photography I’m always interested in what happens with the news media and have been writting about that in the past.
This week came as another example to me on how the US news media have totally lost their original purpose and usefulness.
So why do I say that? This week a country has seen some dramatic and violent events. I’m talking about Tunisia. I won’t come back and recount all that happened but let’s just say that the people have been very unhappy lately. The government has been accused of corruption. There has been a lot of demonstration, fights between the police and the demonstrators. The usual typical turn of event during a popular revolution. All this resulted in the embattled president Ben Ali leaving the country and an upcoming period of uncertainty.
Did you heard about it in the news? Did you see any video footage of those events. if you did that probably means that you get your news from a foreign source because the US news media have pretty much totally ignored the topic until yesterday.
Actually friday the president of Tunisia was leaving the country and hundreds of people were killed int he streets, at the same time NSNBC was reporting on Marta’s Stewart dog who split open her lip and on a guy arrested for drunk driving a donkey in Texas! Two events that are really fundamental to report to the world.
Ok Tunisia is not a big country and those events are pretty much the same as what we see in any popular revolt. But it’s a prefect example of what we got on the news media and what we don’t get.
Let face the facts, the news media don’t report news anymore they are just here for entertainment. There are no journalists anymore there are ‘news anchors’ (fascinating name if you think about it, before news anchor we had only boat anchor, dumb pieces of metal).
They are not reporting anymore, they are hunting for sensational or shocking events. They are not investigating, they are repeating what they are served by news agency, government agencies or big corporations.
News media used to be important when they were actually dealing with news and not purely entertainment, now they are more like some sort of circus.
People who wanted to follow the real news, what was happening in Tunisia or elsewhere were better of using… twitter!
Facebook is very widely used in the young population of Tunisia and lots of people were reporting the unrest in Tunisia through Twitter. Most of the european medias (starting with BBC) heard about it this way. To the extend that some commenters now talk about a ‘Twitter revolution’ as the network was widely used to coordinate the unrest and the demonstrations against the government.
On a parallel not, many people consider too that Wikileak is the factor that started this revolution. among the documents leaked recently is a report from the US embassy in Tunis about the political situation and the widespread corruption. This report confirmed (follow this link if you are interested in reading it)what many people thought already and is considered to have triggered the first events that eventually led to the collapse of the government.
Honestly, I’m very fine with a corrupt government falling because of some document leaked by Wikileak. But should not that be the role of the news media?
The news media in the US have left a big empty hole in investigative journalism and even news reporting. Alternative medias and new organizations are taking over this task and I’m glad they do because it’s fundamental for a healthy democracy.