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Barber’s Take on the News

This was too interesting a responce to leave it in the comments section. Lindsay Barber  is a real life American Broadcaster who blogs here: http://dontbreakthenews.wordpress.com/

Ben,

I love this discussion. I have been reading about the fall of great journalism in the United States lately and two of the books I’ve read speak in great detail about the failure to really report foreign news. In comparison to our friends across the Atlantic Americans are woefully ignorant to the culture, geography and current events of other countries.

Speaking specifically about broadcast journalism in the U.S., after big corporations bought the TV networks they became more concerned with the bottom line than with responsible reportage. After the birth of “60 Minutes,” those networks realized that there was a possibility to make great profits off of news shows.

The networks then turned to infotainment and sensationalism in an effort to up ratings and garner more advertisers. In an effort to increase these profits even more, they closed news bureaus in other countries. Even CNN is a victim of this.

Now almost all foreign news we get in the U.S. is video taken from services like the AP, or a specific country’s state TV. All of the information for each network is coming from the same place, and we have no idea how much of it is legitimate or how much of it is spun. The networks have gone down to a London bureau, but all they really do there is repackage video and information received from these questionable news services.

Even when a reporter is able to get a story these days, the network executives usually say “that’s boring, the American public isn’t interested in that,” and so the stories won’t make air. In one of the books I’m reading, the journalist says he feels there is a very good chance the events of 9-11 could have been prevented if American journalists had done their jobs.

If you’re interested, these books are:

“News Flash: Journalism, Infotainment, and the Bottom-Line Business of Broadcast News” by Bonnie Anderson, a vet reporter for CNN and NBC, and “Bad News: The Decline of Reporting, The Business of News, and the Danger to us All,” by Tom Fenton, a vet reporter for CBS.

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