On March 8th, 2014 a Boeing 777 flight from Malaysia Airlines simply vanished when en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur. But you already know this.
The missing flight 370 has consumed our media in one fell swoop, and while I would never argue that it is unimportant, I would argue that equally important (and yes, more important) stories are being missed in the obsession to cover every tiny development regarding the vanishing aircraft.
All the media outlets are to blame for this journalistic sellout, however, the American people who tune in share in the guilt.
March 8th, 2014 was the last time anybody heard from Flight 370. Incidentally, it was also the last time the CNN homepage featured any other story.
More opinion below the fold.
Our media has been on a steady decline since...well, I guess since the advent of cable media. While increased technology has left us all more connected and with more options for news consumption, it has also drug down the quality of that consumption. It has left media outlets craving ratings, and people being strung along so perfectly it isn't certain which is the "pied piper" and which are the village kids. But whether the viewers are leading the networks, or networks leading the viewers, our media has been infected with a profound cancer of quality.
The symptoms of this "media cancer" are everywhere. How many days of coverage did Justin Bieber get on CNN after his arrest? Oh wait, it's still going on. How much more than we speculate about Hillary Clinton running for President? Apparently alot. Oh, and just in case you were worried some legitimate poltiical discussion might seep through, It's time to talk about the next elections! Not that we ever really stopped...
I do not think it would be hyperbole to suggest we have a huge media problem in this country. Maybe I should call it a "grand media crisis" in hope that some network will run with the flashy headline.
(not holding my breath)
It seems that we have two equally problematic trends in media these days. On one hand, we have networks moving increasingly in favor of either the liberal of conservative ideology (MSNBC toward the liberals, and I'll let you use your imagination on what network is "trending" conservative) OR networks standing for essentially nothing at all, publishing / covering whatever garbage they think will grab attention (CNN: hold on, let me interrupt this blog post to report that Selena Gomez has a new naval ring).
In terms of quality: it is getting worse.
It terms of polarization: it is getting scarier. Case in point Newsmax conspiracy website to start cable news show.
Now, some of you may be tempted to say: 'But Jake, we have the DailyKos / other minor outlets! We are free from the MSM media failures!"
True, but not quite so true.
I love the DailyKos. I don't publish as much as I wish, but I read quite a bit. The stories highlighted are always interesting, and I do get quite a bit of information from this great site.
But the world needs mainstream media.
The world needs to be able to open newspapers, to turn on the television, go to MSM websites, and see peer reviewed news footage that is relevant and balanced. Not "fake balanced" by trying to justify the unjustifiable, but balanced in terms of reporting a wide variety of stories that benefit / hurt both sides of the political spectrum.
The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is a story. It could even be an important story. It could even be a very very important story. It is -- at least -- a more important story than Justin Bieber's legal problems, or (going a long way back now) Charlie Sheen's tweets. But it is not the only story.
While we bloggers here have immeasurable power to bring important stories to the national light, most of us do not have the manpower, time, or journalistic experience to write, review, investigate, and factcheck every blog entry we post. Also, our website does not appeal to every spectrum of Americans, all of whom require news to make informed opinions. We need our mainstream media back.
How do we get it back? Well, personally I keep hoping I wake up and the Newsroom turns out to be real life. But apart from that, I'm not sure.
What I am sure of is that this needs to change. I'm hoping you guys have some good ideas. As of right now, I'm just turning off the T.V.