With its tawdry stories of film stars and celebrity divorces, the celebration of destructive anti-heroes, and displays of blood and mayhem, national television and its talking heads have fallen into the septic tank. Think of how the death of Anna Nicole Smith was overplayed. Then there’s the chronicling of the idiotic antics of Britney Spears; the female astronaut-gone-wild, Lisa Nowak; and NBC’s $1 million payment to Paris Hilton for her jail memoirs. Mainstream media’s moral compass has disintegrated, exampled by the TV station that “added a gunshot sound effect to a [marketing] promo for the 11 o’clock news.”
Most of the national mainstream print media — isolated and out of touch, dominated by “group think” — is no better. We are subjected to the nastiness of attack journalism, where character assassination is rampant, rumors are touted as near-facts, and people’s characters and careers are hit so hard, they cannot overcome the smears. This brings reputations and lives tumbling down. “A Measure of Media Bias,” a landmark 2003 study, documented scientifically that the national media slants the news left, with CBS and The New York Times (and now, MSNBC) leading the way.
But as biased and unfair as these outlets are, how have they earned the epithet “drive-by media”? Think of it this way: The national media’s drumbeat for many years has been negativism, sensationalism and character assassination of conservative leaders. A writer for the New York Post actually admitted that his job is to “destroy people.” The drive-by media launch class-warfare attacks on the wealthy, use fraudulent documents (remember the Dan Rather story?), and aid the enemy (remember how the national media revealed the top-secret National Security Agency program that monitored communications between al-Qaida and its U.S. contacts?). Sometimes, it’s worse. Readers may recall CNN’s long history of siding with the enemy, starting with Peter Arnett’s anti-American coverage of the first Gulf War. While the United States is threatened with fanatics who have dedicated their lives to killing us all, the national media flirts with treason, on a relentless “human rights” campaign to undermine the war on terror.
These media outlets undermine our strength militarily, corrode the public’s resolve and erode our collective spirit. Their agenda is to create news that furthers their world view. They tell you what they think the news is, and ignore the news they don’t want you to know.
Such activity is just like drive-by shooters who pull up to a crowd of people and spray bullets into the group. The result is chaos, confusion and mass hysteria. Rather than killing people, the national drive-by media kill reputations and destroy careers. Then, with smug self-congratulation, they drive off, leaving permanent damage in their tracks. They head “down the highway with the top down, laughing and looking for their next group of victims,” as one pundit put it.
But nobody stops them. Nobody arrests them. Few hold them accountable. They escape blame. It doesn’t matter what network you watch — MSNBC, CBS, ABC, CNN — you’re watching the drive-by media in action. These are so-called “journalists” who blow up vehicles on NBC and make viewers think it was accidental. Or violate the bounds of decency, like this week’s Palm Beach Post story, which printed the name of a woman complaining she was raped, and posted her photo.
If the mainstream media stuck to attacks on the viewpoints held by public figures, and their hypocrisy, that’s fair game. Calling public figures nasty names is not.
The good news is that the viewing public seems to be catching on. The major TV networks and national liberal print media are in a huge downhill slide. Disillusioned viewers and readers have abandoned the mainstream media in droves.
So, after years of bad behavior, the drive-by media is getting its comeuppance. The bill-payers at broadcast TV and newspapers are seeing what this form of journalism has brought them. We’ll see whether editors and publishers in the national media realize the problem and stop the destruction. If not, online publishers like BIZPAC Review will be happy to serve the disillusioned.