Taking the Lead

In the fight against infotainment, news anchors are starting to take the lead.

Tired of having their work watered down by celebrity scandals and other gossip being passed off as legitimate news, these reporters are pushing back against the bland “infotainment” that fills our airwaves.

First it was Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC, who tried to burn her producer’s notes on Paris Hilton on live television, and then when she was told to lead with the story again, fed the notes through a shredder. As of this writing, just under a month later, the YouTube video of Brzezinski’s protest has been viewed 2,942,320 times.

A few weeks later, Jack Cafferty refused to lead with a story on Lindsay Lohan, telling his staff to take the story out of the teleprompter and put his script in. In just one day since this video was posted it has been viewed more than 173,000 times.

People from across the country are increasingly concerned about the ways consolidation hurts journalism. As multinational companies buy up television, radio, print and web properties, they cut staff and focus less on journalism and more on “synergy” between their various outlets.

In depth stories are replaced by boilerplate infotainment to be spread ad nauseum across every platform.

Instead of investigative reporting that would give citizens the information they need to participate actively in democratic life, we get endless updates on Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan.

The comments posted in response to both these videos have been overwhelmingly positive. One representative commenter wrote, “Kick ass! It’s so refreshing to see someone in the media taking a stand, we are ALL tired of hearing about that crap. ON with the news.”

If information is the lifeblood of the democracy, these videos remind us that Big Media is making us ill. We need to keep demanding real journalism, and refusing to settle for fake news and celebrity fluff.

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