Quality of News Going Downhill Fast

When I was a teenager, I liked to read the paper – as much of it as I could before I got bored. That was usually quite a bit although there were whole sections that I ignored. In my college years, things changed quite a bit. The Internet has been my major source of news for about a decade now and it’s rare that I don’t read at least one article by the end of the day.

In the past couple of years, however, news seems to have changed a lot. In a desperate effort to be one of the few headlines that make it to Google News, web sites have been looking for the most enticing and salacious news they can find. Father Jonathan Morris of Fox News pointed this out in an article recently titled, Do You Want to Change the News Media? I appreciate his fresh take:

I am convinced there’s something tragic happening in the news media. It goes beyond legitimate differences of taste and form. At an unprecedented rate, hard news, good news, and non-sexualized news are disappearing. In their place has arrived a tantalizing concoction of celebrity gossip, fear-mongering, partisan drama, and lowbrow feature stories. Scandal and intrigue are the glue which holds together this eclectic mix of entertainment, while a sprinkling of Associated Press wire reports serves the all important purpose of keeping up a façade of news reporting.

I understand the words, ‘sexualized media’. Mark Chamberlain used that same description in his seminar when he came to Springville last year. It’s difficult to get through a day without experiencing some form of sexualized media: on the radio, on the billboards, on T.V., in news articles on the Internet, and on T.V. It’s pretty ridiculous.

I’m considering working harder to customize my RSS feeds to exclude the junk. I admit that I’ve been tempted to read the gossip between Trump and O’Donnell. That’s one story I haven’t given in to. Father Jonathan inspires me with these words:

We can either wait for brilliant media executives to figure out how to maintain high standards without going out of business, or we can help them in this endeavor by “voting” for what is true, good, and beautiful. That’s not easy to do. It requires controlling our baser instincts which spur us toward gossip, sensationalism, and smut. But such virtue, surprisingly, has a way of making us very happy people.

I also read this (again) today from President Gordon B. Hinckley‘s ‘Standing for Something’:

Television is perhaps the greatest medium ever discovered to teach and educate and even to entertain. But the filth, the rot, the violence, and the profanity that spew from television screens into our homes is deplorable. It is a sad commentatry on our society.

I feel more accountable for every show and every commercial I watch just as I do every article I click. Where will I give my precious time? Who will I give my attention to? How will I progress, improve, and become excellent if I’m giving my time to junk? It’s time to cut out the fat, get back in moral shape and lead this nation back to the virtuous state it was in when it was created. I love the line from America, the Beautiful: “And crown they soul with self-control”. I hope that we can learn to control ourselves and stay away from the tackiness, the salaciousness, and the vulgarity that is an increasing part of our culture.

One thought on “Quality of News Going Downhill Fast

  1. Amen, brother! It’s getting easier and easier to watch less t.v. when the choices presented are mostly filth. It is pretty sad, though, to have to be ready to fast forward (thank goodness for tivo) through filthy commercials to avoid the smut that we don’t want to enter our homes. I’ve been tempted many times to get rid of the t.v. Self-control is important to have and there are good things that come from the media as well, plus how would my children survive my pregnancy with no Dora the Explorer to watch? Only partly kidding.

    And it is disturbing when I go to read the online news articles and there are only a few decent articles worth reading. It’s definitely a challenge for this generation to use their time wisely when there are so many distractions competing for our attention. I appreciate hearing your words, which are so well-written. It’s nice to know I have such an intelligent and morally good big brother (by only 18 months) to look up to. Wish we lived closer so we could visit and talk more often. Love you!

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