Journalism Is Dead

Every day, I read a lot of articles.  And every day, I get more and more saddened by the decline in journalistic standards.  It’s near impossible to find an article that does not clearly express the author’s biases and preferences.

The promotion or derision of any product, service, or company is done both by what is said and what is not said.  An author may compare only features or facts that are superior to competitors, or vice versa if that’s the author’s goal.  An author will state opinions as facts. as in, “no one likes or will use this feature.”  Even if an author tries to defend his or her bias with “everyone I asked agrees that…”, it is still a flawed sample, since like-minded people tend to attract each other.  This is the echo chamber where clusters of people come to believe something as truth when it is simply an exaggerated – or even made-up – opinion.

Spelling and grammar are obsolete.  The argument, “you still understood what I meant,” seems to have grown beyond common comments into the articles themselves.  Editors are either non-existent, with many articles being published by a person whose title is “Editor”, or if they are, they are ineffective.  I just finished reading an article in the Wall Street Journal (now corrected) where the editor’s review comment was left in the article body.  This is what passes for quality?

And it’s not just print media that has died.  I don’t watch TV anymore, so when I do by happenstance, I am astounded at the behavior of news anchors.  The tone and inflection in their delivery takes ordinary news to tabloid levels.  You would never see an exclamation point in a real news story, but these talking heads are trying their hardest to indicate what emotion you need to be feeling about the story at hand.

The emotional aspect comes back to the print media as well, where “news” is essentially an opinion piece with a few facts mixed in.  Product reviews are not objective, but instead are a litany of praise or condemnation as to how the product suited the reviewer’s needs.  And this is pretty much standard now.  The best way to get a review is to find a reviewer who has the same wants and needs as you do.  Reviewers don’t simply explain features, they explain how you should feel about features.  For example, “the product has a hinge that allows it to open up 45 degrees” versus “the product has a hinge that allows it to only open to 45 degrees, limiting its usefulness.”

And a rant on article comments should be forthcoming…

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