Friday, March 13, 2009

Why is the media never accountable? Why don't people think?


NY Times article - pretty entertaining.

Jim Cramer from CNBC's Mad Money has been showing up on Comedy Central quite a bit lately. I saw him the other night on The Colbert Report, where my hero merely mocked him with images of kittens and puppies flashing behind his bald skull. Jon Stewart took a much more aggressive approach to Cramer and CNBC's coverage of the crashing markets, mostly in being irresponsible, giving poor advice and misinformation, encouraging this current crisis. You can watch the interview at The Daily Show.

I don't want to comment on the media's manipulation of markets as much as the market's allowance of this manipulation. I've been contemplating writing a counter argument to the women-body image-media claims that bulimia is a product of television, at that sort of body image stuff. I don't entirely buy it, won't get into it now. However, I do think that that the mainstream media does its best to attempt to fill the public's heads with misinformation. Fine. That's the role of the media, sell ideas, sell airtime, sell, sell, sell. What fascinates me though, is that the public goes for it.  

In this case, it was important that CNBC should have acted as a mouthpiece for the "market" in favor of the viewers, which it didn't do. I can't agree with Stewart more. Stewart mentions that CNBC doesn't have to be a watchdog for the industry, but the message is that it should uphold a level of integrity and accountability, not tricking viewers into bad financial decisions, etc. 

What is terribly tragic that that Jon freaking Stewart, host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show is the most high-profile character acting as a media watchdog. Comedy Central. The media should have the viewership's best interest in mind, especially in this case, where such large sums of money are at stake.

It's no surprise that cable television or any media, for that matter, cannot be trusted. I think that anyone who encounters any periodical and believes entirely what they are reading or watching or hearing is a sad, mindless creature. Please, if you are one of them, take what I said personally, it's not "not about you" it is about you. You are the one who decides to believe or not. If you are bright and questioning, you will understand that even NPR is wrong sometimes. 

A little more than six years back, I was a very active anti-war, or peace, activist. Although I grew up in an environment that fostered creative thinking, and I always knew about liberal media to a certain extent, I think that my experience with the anti-war movement, as anorexic as it was locally, really pulled into perspective for me the level of false information out there. The "movement" in Miami was me and a handful of older, brilliant gentleman crusaders. There were other groups around town, but ours was the most inclusive and planned the biggest rallies by the Freedom Tower. The network of these people helped give solid reference and facts to support my paranoid, but correct instincts. However, I didn't need a network of well informed individuals to hint that maybe the TV wasn't telling the truth all the time.

I have seen people's perspectives broaden since we invaded Iraq. More young people have gotten involved. What horrifies me is that they weren't involved before, when it fucking mattered. Before we killed almost 100,000 Iraqis. Before they reelected Bush. Now we're all in the shitter economically, and I feel like you all deserve it, but I don't. I just can't imagine feeling any pity for the Americans who can't even think creatively enough to reject whatever the media spews at them. I mean, if you don't understand the stock market/big business/big brother, make some smart friends whom you can trust. If you can't trust anyone, move to a remote farm and don't invest. People, think and then act after you've thought. 


6 comments:

swampthing said...

The forth estate a the big joke that is not funny. The only thing "liberal" about the corporate media is the amount of BS propaganda they churn out on the e-trough to engineer consent from a somnambulant public. The media is the menace.

EAT said...

I suppose, but aren't we responsible for finding the truth out for ourselves?
You can't feed off of everything anyone gives you. All information is propaganda to a certain extent. People are always self-promoting or providing "evidence" to prove their points.
Having a clearer, more controlled perspective allows us some power over our own experience. You can't trust anything anyone says, you have to find your own truth.

alx czo said...

Don't even get me started about mainstream media... from cock blocking Ron Paul during the elections, to Fox news not running an investigative report on Monsanto's use of a dangerous bovine hormone.

It is not a "liberal" run media as both parties have their hands in this (Fox - R, MSNBC-D), but most importantly, folks need to know that it is corporate run media that is crippling our freedom of press and forcing an idea of reality that is not 100% true....and it is the corporations that are now embedded in our government which allows this to occur without any sort of regulation. This is what has led us to this terrible point in history.

I want to make it clear that this is not a left or a right thing (as the media loves to instigate), because really, both parties are the same thing with minor differences....and they both get the majority of their contributions from Wall Street...and that includes our current president, Obama.
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aMBsgo09sxvo&refer=us
http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/contrib.php?cycle=2008&cid=N00009638


Thank god for the internet or we would be in serious shit. Here are some links to help you sort out the b.s.

http://therealnews.com/t/
http://rawstory.com/
http://www.democraticunderground.com/
You Tube
Wikipedia

but the truth is, as Liz mentioned, people should not take things at face value. Look things up, use "critical thinking" ....which is a skill that a lot of folks lack in this country.

Luciano said...

The Internet's tendency to destroy industries and institutions is providing a much-welcome alternative to mind-poisoning MSM trash in the form of independent reporting and analysis. As a result, it also encourages individuals to develop their own perspectives from the endless glut of information sources out there, rather than simply parroting a handful of bloated egos on radio and TV.

However, I don't believe that our current market situation is all the media's fault either. Like everyone else, investors need to grow a thicker skin rather than freak out at every worthless rumor that comes their way. The current climate that rewards poorly-founded speculation and fear is what has made the market so volatile.

In the end, media outlets don't answer to anyone but their sponsors. Their job is simply to attract and retain as many eyeballs as possible, and the easiest way of doing that is not through honest intelligent reporting, but sensationalist, lowest-common-denominator entertainment. Even the Daily Show's public crucifixion of Cramer (who even Stewart admitted is merely a poster-boy rather than a mastermind) served nothing more than to generate lots of populist buzz and viewership for Comedy Central. Those oh-so-incriminating video clips that Stewart ran have been easily accessible on both the TheStreet.com and YouTube for years now. He didn't blow the lid off some nefarious Cramer-induced conspiracy. If anything, Cramer himself was exposing these exploitative methods (which hedge fund managers had already been using) to CNBC's audience way before the market imploded.

Annoyed said...

This is another example of the problem this country is facing -- Laziness and individual irresponsibility. Most people are completely detached from the world around them. You see these lawsuits because some jek who ate too many hoho's got fat, or like you said, this notion that the media promotes eating disorders. At the end of the day, most people are not interested in getting down to the facts, or making decisions for themselves using critical thinking. Much easier to follow the herd and complain about how shitty everything is.

EAT said...

Amen, Alex, Luciano and Annoyed, Amen.