Friday, November 12, 2010

A Discussion of Media

Anyone who follows this blog knows that a) I studied journalism when I was in college, and b) even today, I have a keen interest in the shape and role of the media in today's society.

A lot of times, what I see in today's media -- between the struggling newspapers, the all-too-loud cable stations and sensationalistic websites -- is not what I learned at Old Dominion University, and that saddens me. Not just because I see people who aren't being good journalists taking journalism jobs away from people like me, but because I see what today's media is doing to our discourse -- both political and societal.

There are exceptions to the media climate that I support -- specifically, Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O'Donnell and such magazines as The Nation. Not necessarily because these are prominent liberal voices and I have become increasingly liberal with age, but because these prominent media voices live in a land of facts and reality -- a land sparsely populated in today's perpetual conflictinator, to borrow a phrase.

I also take a keen interest in The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, in large part because he was a big focus in a class I took at ODU surrounding the media and politics. Stewart is more than just an average funnyman, even if he won't admit it half the time, and I find his insights fascinating, even if I don't always agree with them.

Which brings me to Thursday night's interview between Stewart and Maddow on the latter's MSNBC show. The 50-minute discussion, which was cut to fit Maddow's airtime, centered largely around the role of the media -- 24-hour cable news in particular -- and how it affects public feeling and discourse.

I found it to be a fascinating discussion, even if I disagree with some of Stewart's points (sorry, Stewart, but Fox News is partisan and President Bush is a war criminal). Still, I recommend watching the interview and coming to your own conclusions.

Fair warning, though: this thing's long. But so worth it.

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