I targeted a specific media outlet with my initial draft of this haiku, but I realized the sins of demagoguery are pretty much shared across the spectrum of cable news networks. The people at Fox News who used to make me laugh with their “Fair and Balanced” sloganeering really aren’t that much different from some of the commentators elsewhere.
Too many of the folks dispatching their views on the airwaves are more than happy to let people take their opinions as fact. This is dangerous, mostly due to an utter lack of media literacy on the part of most American viewers. In short, too many people watch their favorite news commentator — whether it be someone like Neil Cavuto, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Keith Olbermann, Lou Dobbs, Rachel Maddow or Joe Scarborough — blindly believing what they’re watching is a straight newscast.
There are probably millions of news watchers who would be shocked if news networks were forced to label commentators as peddlers of opinion rather than news. I know more than a few who are shocked when I suggest their favorite talking heads are less than impartial. I didn’t used to think people were that naive, but now I think a little truth in labeling could go a long way.