Okay so I am paraphrasing The Twilight Zone, but really that is what I feel like I have tuned into every time I turn on the TV to watch the mainstream media coverage of the “news”. Yes, I did put that in quotations. No, I am not trying to be ironic. Basic cable has ruined journalism. I remember watching Ted Koppel on Nightline when I was growing up. We all used to tune in with my Dad explaining the issues to us kids during the commercials. I am not sure if it was Ted’s reporting or my father’s running commentary, but I always felt like I was being informed of what was really happening in the world. Now they have turned Nightline into some generic “infotainment” show. Poor Ted. At least there is still the MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour, another staple in my younger years. But, what about CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News? Well, let’s just go ahead and burst Fox News’s bubble and admit that there is no actual news on that channel. Please stop calling yourselves Fox News and go by your real intentions - Fox Opinions and Drivel. You are allowed your opinions, but you are not allowed to call them facts nor news. I have to say I feel almost the same way for MSNBC. Their key “anchors” are really pundits, but at least their opinions are based on actual facts and investigative journalism. Again, I don’t mind them having an opinion, but they should call it reporting with an *. Yes, I agree with the reporting* on MSNBC, but what about just straight news, just giving the public the facts? We have CNN, right? Wrong! This hurts me to say. I have been an avid viewer of CNN since my father declared me old enough to watch all the hard truths of world. What I have noticed over the past two decades of watching CNN is a shift away from asking any really hard questions. I would love just once to see John King say to a conservative pundit, “Well how are going to balance the budget and pay down the deficit when you want to continue throwing tax dollars down the throats of the rich? Have you found a third dimension where jobs magically spring from a unicorn’s butt?”. Just once John, just once. But, I do have to give props to Candy Crowley for holding down the fort, I tune into her with a smile on my face every time. So where can I get real, actual reporting you ask? Here is a list of various sources I have found both informative and entertaining:
-If you are looking for real journalism: Amy Goodman of Democracy Now. Talk about putting yourself out there to inform the public! Please find her at democracynow.org
-If you are looking for a gateway: The Best of the Left Podcast produced by Jay! Tomlinson (his exclamation point, not mine). It is a compilation of a number of news sources and a good way to find other outlets to news. You can find him at thebestoftheleftpodcast.com.
-If you need to chuckle while you learn: The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and my personal favorite, Real Time with Bill Maher.
-If you need to chuckle and learn enough swear words to make your merchant marine brother blush: The crazy kids of Citizen Radio Jamie Kilstein and Allison Kilkenny. WARNING: This show is Not Safe For Work or your Grandmother with a heart condition! You can find them at wearecitizenradio.com.
This is a very abbreviated list of my personal favorites. I hope you know of some and go look for others because the only way we are going to bring about a real and lasting change is to become the educated citizens that keep a democracy alive and strong.