Political discourse in the United States now wallows at the dark and dank level of endless finger point- ing, gotcha games, and “he said/she said.” After this past election, it’s hard to imagine sinking any lower. But if some- thing isn’t done to stop the political mudslide, we’ll undoubtedly become covered in what’s now beneath us.
So what change can we make to end the hateful torrent that is destroying friendships, obstructing our government’s ability to accomplish anything of real value, and is even making some Americans root against their own country so they can scream “I told you so!”?
The answer is to go back to journalistic standards of objectivity.
Journalistic objectivity once acted as the nation’s double boiler. Anybody making their Christmas fudge knows that a double boiler will keep melting chocolate from getting too hot, ruining its taste and consistency. Journalism today not only puts us directly on the burner, it turns up the heat!
Decades ago, newspapermen decided that the American public was too ignorant to understand the complexities of politics, so they took it upon themselves to write editorials and endorse candidates. In other words, newspapers told the population how to vote.
You’d think that their opinion of us would be somewhat more exalted by now, given that our collective level of literacy and education has greatly improved. Instead, their belief in our intelligence has dropped. Nowadays, even in so-called “hard news” stories they take it upon themselves to write not just the facts, but how we should feel about those facts. “Enlightening the masses” is no longer restricted to the editorial section, either in print or in television news, including both the networks and cable.
No matter which side of the political aisle you are on, this should greatly offend you. And alarm you. How can we trust what we’re reading and viewing when so much of what they offer is endless spin? How can we possibly make informed choices, when headlines focus mainly on the inane?
“Journalists” should tell us the facts. Let bloggers and the rest of the public discuss those facts. Let me and you decide for ourselves how we feel about politicians and events and decide what our own reaction should be. Even if you and I wind up on opposing sides, at least we’re standing on something solid as we duke it out, rather than thrashing about in muddy quicksand or throwing burnt chocolate at each other.
I have a plan to help force journalism back to the standards it once held. It’s part of the overall vision of my startup called Swig. I hope you’ll take the time to watch this video and let me know what you think. Thanks.