Jul 30, 2009

Taking a Shot at the Media

Jim Kunstler had an interesting post on his blog, Clusterfuck Nation, recently. The main body of the post is about Obama and the current state of our economy, but he begins with an interesting little detour about the eulogy of Walter Cronkite and segues into the state of the media. Kunstler begins the post with this statement:

"The eulogy for Walter Cronkite as "the most trusted man in America" on the CBS "Sixty Minutes" show said a lot about the condition of this nation -- though it did not signify what CBS thought it did. It wasn't about the death of one hugely esteemed individual; it was about the broad institutional failure of TV news in general and the current grievous loss of legitimacy and authority in shaping a national consensus of reality."

I agree. I have all but stopped reading the Star Tribune and listening to NPR these days. The Strib's gutting of the news department and their columnists has left the paper a hollow shell of what it used to be. As for NPR, the meticulously cultivated sincerity of the announcers gives me the hollowing fantods (thank you, DFW). There's almost nothing more irritating than that "NPR stutter" as Neal Conan or Steve Inskeep (sp?) pretend to wrestle with the pretend weighty issues they are informing us about (even if it's something as insipid as a guy who found a wedding ring in a fish he caught). The nomination of Sotomayor was an NPR hat-trick - what could be more toothsome to them than a story with a Barrack Obama/Supreme court/Latina angle? The coverage was relentless.

There's a lessor know movie by Mike Judge (Beavis and Butthead) called Idiocracy that foreshadows where we might all be headed if this trend continues. In the movie, all the clothing sports advertising, people are generally stupid. The premise is that natural selection has been neutralized by technology, so the human race de-evolves to the state in the movie.

Kunstler is kind of doom-sayer in a lot of ways, but I really like that he puts these contrarian positions out there to ponder. His insights into modern architecture and urban development seem spot-on to me. I just hope he's not right.

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