Monday, March 9, 2009

The Death of Journalism

JFK unquestionably was better liked in the media than his Republican opponent, Vice President Richard Nixon. And television was kind to him because he struck a more attractive figure than Nixon. After the Kennedy-Nixon debate, famously, most radio listeners thought Nixon had won, while most who watched it on television thought Kennedy won.

Although there was some gauze-focused, syrupy coverage of the Kennedy "Camelot" in the White House, and a lot of understandably nostalgic retrospective coverage after his assassination, the news media played campaign coverage "down the middle," for the most part, and comedians had no significant persuasive role yet.

Half a century later, the news media were openly partisan in favor of Obama, and if the large news organizations took their role more seriously than Jon Stewart or Saturday Night Live's Tina entertainers, it was often difficult to distinguish. Documentary filmmaker John Ziegler calls it "media malpractice," and says that we have witnessed "the death of journalism."

It appears from this exit poll that dysfunctional public education and vapid, self-indulgent news practices have combined to produce a smug, opinionated, but disastrously ignorant electorate.

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