Saturday night was the annual White House Correspondents Dinner in our nation's capitol where the media rub shoulders with the news makers be they politicians, entertainers or pigs. Now you may ask how pigs get invited to an affair in which President Obama and Jay Leno are featured speakers but in truth, pigs control Washington.
Did I mention that a "pig" in political campaign terms refers to "public interest group" or "private interest group" which just about covers all the special interest groups that rule Washington? It also reflects a little of the distain for such special interest groups on the part of the campaigns who have to go begging to them for money all the time to fuel the campaigns.
At any rate, as I pondered on this self adulation on the part of the media which is what the event is all about I wondered if this event really could be a funeral wake of sorts for the mainstream media in America. If you follow the polls and the news, what little news there still is, you may have noticed the viewership for network news continues to fall off the cliff. At the same time the subscriptions for newspapers also is on a freefall.
Ironically and to the complete dismay of the cable news community all those people fleeing networks are not switching to cable news. Nor are they switching to newspapers from TV news. No, both the papers and television stations are going broke bringing us the news because the public figured out long ago that TV network and newspaper news outlets are nothing more than propaganda machines for the media companies that own them.
Those companies are addicted to advertising revenue and the competition for ad dollars has brought an end to any hope for fair and objective news in America. In fact, the prestige of news reporting in America has hit such a low that people no longer consider them the most reliable source of news as the most recent trend has shown independent news blogs to be considered more credible a news source for America than all forms of mainstream media.
The only thing that has prolonged the death of the mainstream news media has been the embracing of the entertainment industry by the news media, as celebrity gossip dominates news broadcasts. Thus you see the politicians, never one to not figure out how to best seduce the news media, surrounding themselves with celebrity figures in order to get more news coverage.
That silly trend makes the politicians feel good and makes the media feel like stars, I mean wouldn't you like to be on a first name basis with a George Clooney of the entertainment world? Unfortunately for us the politicians don't seem to get any smarter hanging out with entertainers or corporate gurus like Warren Buffett, they still cast votes that often defy logic and reason.
As for the death of the traditional media, let me give you an example that surprised even me though I have been watching the disintegration of the media for decades. It happened while the media were at the party in Washington. Apparently nearly all the national media from Washington to New York were at the party.
About the time the media stars were half lit and the party was in high gear a car bomb was being discovered in New York City in Times Square. Had the car bomb detonated many hundreds of tourists and Broadway patrons might have died in one of the worst terrorist acts since 9-11. Fortunately, a street vendor and a cop on horseback discovered it when smoke just started to fill the car and the NYC bomb squad was called in and dismantled it before a serious disaster occurred.
I spent all night checking the television for the latest reports on the attempted bombing and perhaps because all the media were partying in Washington, and partly because the media started running pre-recorded programs all night on Friday through Sunday nights, most major television news networks had no mention of the car bombing until 7 am Sunday morning, nearly 10 hours after the car was discovered.
What might have been one of the worst terrorist bombing attacks in years and no press was available to cover it, they were all bombed themselves in our nation's capitol. Now neither 24-7 cable news nor network broadcasters were staffed to cover the story in about the saddest performance by the news media in our history.
When they did wake up or sober up and go on the air they didn't have the staff to even get updated stories but spent much of Sunday re-running interviews from the night before. Of course the recycled news appeared on screen as "breaking news" developments but there was nothing breaking about events the night before.
Imagine that, all the news people in America and no one was available for what might have been the story of the decade. Nothing sums up the sorry state of media anymore than the truth. Is there really any wonder why people no longer turn to the news media for news?