Sunday, October 7, 2012

News Media’s Lust For Debate Ratings Over Facts Fail America

 The first Presidential debate of 2012 confirmed that the news media has vacated it role as the fourth estate. The press was once respected and feared as an entity that would delve into missteps, misstatements and deceits on the part of those leading or seeking to lead the nation, but that has changed in 2012.

On October 3, 2012 a Presidential candidate from one of the major political parties was spontaneously reinventing himself for public consumption by changing or refuting every policy position he held before the event began. Mitt Romney must have felt safe that he would not be held to account for his sudden metamorphous by the news media because of the heightened interest his performance would create for follow on debates.

Romney made the right determination because after the debate ended news media outlets gushed about the energy, tone and style of Mitt Romney’s debate performance and did little to hold him accountable for the sudden policy changes that were often the opposite of long held positions. The news media had become another spectator and acted as a hype machine instead of truth filter.

The Sunday morning news programs after the debate featured dueling opinions from advocates of Mitt Romney and President Obama, but the media figures themselves have become dwarfs compared to the giants of the past. Would something on the scales of Watergate every come to pass again with the current crop of soft news personality types staffing newsrooms nationwide? Could it be that the diminished state of print media combined with broadcast news divisions finding themselves burdened with ratings expectations and some combined with the entertainment wing of networks have combined to gut the journalistic integrity of the business?

Can it be that an overtaxed, overworked and harried public is left with no one that will call out the blatant nature of deception being thrust upon the American public because they fear being shutout from interviews and access more than outing falsehoods that could harm us all in the end? At its worst the behavior of the current media borders on cowardice and is flirting with being unpatriotic.

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