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The Triumph of Idiot Culture

COMOXFERRY Speaking to a crowd of about 200 at Tampa Bay, Florida's Wyndham Westshore, legendary Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein told the gathering that the media today is more trash than news.

Bernstein, the journalist who, along with fellow reporter Bob Woodward, unearthed the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon, said much of today's news has deteriorated into gossip, sensationalism and manufactured controversy.

“That type of news panders to the public and insults their intelligence, ignoring the context of real life,” he said. “Good journalism should challenge people, not just mindlessly amuse them.”

He said the modern press lacks true leadership, citing such examples as AOL Time Warner and mogul Rupert Murdoch as media owners that have increasingly abandoned the principles of meaningful reporting.

“Their interest in truth is secondary to their interest in huge profits,” Bernstein said.

Still, he said people can change that trend by exploring the Internet and piecing together from reputable sources their own news about important world matters. He offered another solution to avoiding the trash that fills the airwaves: “Change the damn channel. Simple.”

Bernstein also also turned his attention to the coming election in the U.S., calling President Bush “the most radical President of my lifetime and perhaps in the century,” saying Bush “is radical in every degree,” from a favouritism of the wealthy to a pre-emptive foreign policy to a lack of concern for civil rights.

Bernstein ended his address by saying that he hopes a genuine debate can take place this year about the future of the United States, rather than the petty quarrels and meaningless accusations that so often dominate campaign coverage.

“Let's move beyond the absurd name-calling and sound bite journalism," he said. “It is our job ... to force a real debate.”

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at March 21, 2004 12:35 AM in Media


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