Posted by: JDM..... | January 6, 2013

The Editor’s Desk…..

……….Chicken Little and Little Jack Horner in charge……….

Funny, how things change. When I was young, which is a hell of a lot longer ago than I like to admit to myself, we looked to the media to uncover official wrongdoing and inform us about world events. Woodward and Bernstein of Watergate fame come to mind. Now, it seems that the media itself is highly suspect, and with no oversight that yet enjoys a track record of credibility.

When print media and the lions of radio and television news reporting provided a check and balance system to unquestioned power and authority, they earned the respect of many and the ire of the rest, but they were taken seriously and were believable, whether one liked what they said or not. The lions have mostly retired, or are off snooping around some previously unknown dimension, and print media as an art form is teetering on the precipice of extinction. Many have fallen. Others are struggling. I used to own comic books fatter than our local Sunday newspaper is now.

The trigger for this remarkable transmutation has been the rapid advancement and unending process of change over the twenty years or so in the broad realm of communications technology. The internet came to town. The Dick Tracy wrist radio of my boyhood fantasies of the future now looks about as high tech as two soup cans and a string. School children now carry devices around in their shirt pockets that Gene Roddenberry never thought of.

As the likes of Walter Cronkite, Helen Thomas, Mike Wallace, and others limped off into the sunset, digital technology had us watching wars “live” on TV instead of waiting hours or days for the latest news to be received, digested, and delivered for our consumption, as had been the norm less than a generation earlier. For a number of reasons, not the least of which was that the internet and digital information technology were new and exciting toys that everyone wanted to get in on, advertising, the life blood of old school media, began to shed the old and predictable and take on the new and unproven.

While this might seem analogous to the buggy whip and rubber tire industry trading places a century before, in the present case all players remain active, but with some bizarre mutations facilitating their existence. I’m not the first one to suggest that erstwhile sleeze writers of the supermarket tabloid school of journalism now practice from the Digital Land of Make Believe disguised as Real World Journalists. No longer do stories of men walking on the moon, or of a major event or disaster in a neighboring state make up the “front page news”. Such yawnfare has been replaced by in depth expose’s about the latest wardrobe malfunction of some bosomy starlet, stupid pet stories, five ways to save money on junk food, and the occasional real life story about some poor widow losing her home of 60 years to a fire, but only if the focus is on the writhing and screaming of her pet cat as it burned to death.

So, the question remains, when the word goes out that the Sky is Falling, who do we believe….Chicken Little, Little Jack Horner, or some other rabid fomenter of discord looking for an opportunity to foam at the mouth?

 

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