Media are still vital to society

Story by Andy Hildebrand, Sports Editor

There’s been a lot of backlash against the media lately. It started after the Sandy Hook shooting when that fake Morgan Freeman quote was being passed around the web.

This quote, was later tracked backwards by Reddit users themselves to find that it was actually written by some guy named Mark in Vancouver. By the time the truth came out though, the quote had gone viral.

It basically said the reason these mass shootings are taking place is because instead of committing suicide, these people yearn to achieve celebrity status by doing some unspeakable act, earning them a spot on every national news broadcast in the country.

The thinking then, was that if everyone simply stopped watching the news, the problem would go away. That’s crazy.

Journalism does not exist to create celebrities. It seeks the truth, and it seeks to inform. Over and over throughout history there are examples of truth and knowledge inspiring positive change. Our own country was born through colonists learning they weren’t being fairly represented in England and deciding they deserved better.
Men like Thomas Paine and Ben Franklin published newsletters that informed the public, allowing the revolution to
gain momentum.

That same purpose still exists today. Guerilla journalists in the Middle East, sometimes armed with nothing but a cell phone, have risked their lives to offer the world a window into countries in transition. Places like Egypt and Syria, pushing for a more democratic society are documented and validated around the world because of the work journalists do. I understand the frustration though.

Cable news programs often seem more like shouting matches than any kind of relevant journalism.
Talking heads debate the same two stories on six different channels, seemingly in an attempt to make us all think
their way.

Why should you care what some obviously biased pundit thinks about the President’s cabinet choices? The fact is, you probably shouldn’t.
But it seems to me that people are tuning in to cable or political radio shows not for information, but to hear an opinion they already agree with. That, my friends, is not good journalism. That’s not news.

CNN, my go-to source for cable news, just cut their entire investigative journalism budget. Think about that for a second. The worldwide leader in news just eliminated their investigative journalism budget. This is the kind of trend that scares people and makes it easy to be cynical about the media.

Piers Morgan recently took a definitive stance on the issue of gun control. The following week, he “debated” a series of guests, the most controversial being internet radio host Alex Jones. Jones specializes in conspiracy theories and radical ideals.

He also happens to fall on the opposite side of the gun control fence than Morgan. What followed was a sensationalist farce of an interview that would have felt right at home on “Saturday Night Live.”

Don’t lose heart though. There are plenty of good, ethical journalists out there that want nothing more than to bring you the news. You just have to find it.

Don’t settle for subpar news sources, and for God’s sake, don’t tune out altogether. It’s the profession I’ve chosen because I think it’s incredibly important. Let’s keep it
that way.