The Deterioration of American Journalism

Before my rant, I’d like to mention that someone read my story about the homeless man on the train last night and pointed out that it’s not always that the other passengers feel they are above the person, it’s frequently also a possibility that seeing a person in such a state is a reminder of their own fragility. This statement is perhaps even more relevant recently, given the country’s current economic condition and the fact that numerous people who never thought twice about money and had what they considered to be well-paid, secure jobs have lost their careers and even their homes.

Speaking of the current economic condition of the country… let me begin my rant against American pseudo-journalism. Since when is “stox” EVER appropriate to use in a headline about the stock market. Really?! NY Daily News seems to have made it a habit of using “sez” instead of “says,” and numerous other examples of this ridiculous deterioration of the American language and the integrity of American journalism can be found in newspapers, magazines, and in “credible” news websites across the country. The general acceptance of text and IM pseudo-language is bad enough in general cultural terms, does it really have to infiltrate the news??

On a related note, a few years ago I had one specific moment when I realized that American news coverage – even from previously credible sources of reasonably high integrity – had hit a low point when I was watching CNN one day and there was a “Breaking News!” flash, interrupting the current programming on serious conflicts around the world, telling the world with absolute urgency about the latest antics of… Britney Spears. (UGH! Just thinking about it still makes me cringe!) Does Britney having a breakdown and shaving her head really take precedence over the tens of thousands of people dying of famine, disease, and in violent conflicts worldwide?? *sigh*

The news material itself recently has been upsetting in a very different way. Today at work, my co-worker Pam and I were discussing the California family who was found dead in their home, after the mother and father had both lost their jobs. The father apparently shot his wife and five children, then himself. According to the letters he left behind, he and his wife has discussed it, and decided that murder-suicide would be their best option and they did not want to leave their children behind to be raised by others. Which makes me wonder, how extensive was this discussion? Did they really consider all the options available to them, all the help programs, all the lower-paying jobs in the meantime, all the state and federal programs… did they really weigh all their options before choosing death? And at what point in the discussion does killing everyone seem like a viable option? I feel that there must be some kind of mental predisposition within those who choose such a violent end over life. It is truly astounding to me. To not only kill themselves, but to take others with them. 

On a more uplifting note… because, well, this is a little depressing so far (sorry about that)… my friend Britton Williams (an absolutely incredible actress, teacher, entrepreneur, and all-around person) found a homeless shelter that’s interested in hosting her free workshop, KAPCAT! Through her non-profit organization (The Jeanie Bird Foundation – http://www.jeaniebird.org), Britton has created an innovative program to work with shelters that cater to families and bring in an arts program that enables the families to work together on artistic endeavors over the span of 8-12 weeks in order to bring each family closer, and for them to be able to create something together. Additionally, it gives participants a forum in which to express their stories, and to learn to communicate more effectively among themselves and with others. AMAZING project – you should definitely check it out!

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One Response to “The Deterioration of American Journalism”

  1. Katie Piekarski Says:

    totally agree on the news crap. I used to work in television news for 3 years and my has it gone downhill. When I lived in California .. the top news story (and breaking news) was a verdict on Cameron Diaz’s naked picture lawsuit! Are you kidding me? This is the best news story of the day?

    I feel your pain… if people would quit watching… perhaps the news would change 🙂

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