About thirteen years ago—toward the end of my undergraduate education—I suddenly realized that there was some TV news I could no longer stomach. I remember noticing it; I honestly had trouble then and now describing just why it happened.
But Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WVa) helped me do so with some unscripted comments he recently made in a congressional committee meeting:
When it comes to developing content, our entertainment machine is too often in a race to the bottom. Even worse, our news media has all but surrendered to the forces of entertainment. Instead of a watchdog that is a check on the excesses of government and business, we have the endless barking of a 24-hour news cycle. We have journalism that is always ravenous for the next rumor, but insufficiently hungry for the facts that can nourish our democracy. As citizens, we are paying a price.
He also said,
There’s a little bug inside of me which wants to get the FCC to say to Fox and to MSNBC, “Out. Off. End. Goodbye.” It’d be a big favor to political discourse, our ability to do our work here in Congress, and to the American people, to be able to talk with each other and have some faith in their government and, more importantly, in their future.
I do believe it is very important to seek your news from outlets that are, above all, responsible. No one is completely objective, but there are some journalists who don’t even try. Do we really want a European-style democracy in which political parties all have their own newspapers? Are echo-chambers healthy for political discourse? Are the major issues facing our society capable of fair and balanced discussion within the television medium?
“Senator Rockefeller’s comments are worthy of careful consideration,” said Lady Gaga.