Good journalism should challenge people, not just mindlessly amuse them.
I think all good reporting is the same thing- the best attainable version of the truth.
Increasingly, the picture of our society as rendered in our media is illusionary and delusionary: disfigured, unreal, out of touch with reality, disconnected from the true context of our life. It is disfigured by celebrity, by celebrity worship, by gossip, by sensationalism, by denial of our societies
The failures of the press have contributed immensely to the emergence of a talk-show nation, in which public discourse is reduced to ranting and raving and posturing. We now have a mainstream press whose news agenda is increasingly influenced by this netherworld.
The lowest form of popular culture- lack of information, misinformation, disinformation, and a contempt for the truth or the reality of most people's lives- has overrun real journalism. Today, ordinary Americans are being stuffed with garbage.
The reality is that the media are probably the most powerful of all our institutions today and they, or rather we, too often are squandering our power and ignoring our obligations. The consequence of our abdication of responsibility is the ugly spectacle of idiot culture!
We are in the process of creating what deserves to be called the idiot culture. Not an idiot sub-culture, which every society has bubbling beneath the surface and which can provide harmless fun; but the culture itself. For the first time, the weird and the stupid and the coarse are becoming our cultural norm, even our cultural ideal.
You can't serve the public good without the truth as a bottom line.
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