It has been reported that MSNBC has decided to ratchet up its already partisan coverage in order to compete with its evil conservative twin Fox News. Well, it was bound to happen. But is this really what we need—a journalistic arms race, another partisan propaganda war? Seems like we’re going backward, returning to the early 19th century, when newspapers were scurrilous partisan rags that tarred and feathered their opponents with libelous accusations, while the public grew more and more ill-informed. Of this author Charles Dickens wrote,
“…[W]hile that Press has its evil eye in every house, and its black hand in every appointment in the state, from a president to a postman; while, with ribald slander for its only stock in trade, it is the standard literature of an enormous class, who must find their reading in a newspaper, or they will not read at all; so long must its odium be upon the country’s head, and so long must the evil it works, be plainly visible in the Republic” (American Notes, 1842).
Seeking the truth and informing the public are not sufficient rewards for corporate news media. They must, of course, entertain, compete for ratings and sponsor’s dollars. Where will it all end? Well, if the recent election is any barometer, with both sides having a massive arsenal of corporate cash and their respective propaganda machines trained on one another, it will end with nothing changing at all. Billions spent by both, resulting in the status quo, while millions of Americans go to bed hungry. As Isaiah puts it,
“We were with child, we writhed in labor, but we gave birth to wind. We have not brought salvation to the earth, and the people of the world have not been reborn” (Isa. 26:18).
And what effect will this eskalation have on ordinary Americans but to increase acrimony and division in an already acrimonious and divided nation? Meanwhile, the real stories go un- (or under-) reported. Biased journalism is an oxymoron (with emphasis on the penult and ult). It exists to entertain, like pro wrestling. Neither is it enough for journalism to be merely “fair and balanced.” That’s opinion. The truth is objective. This is why we need all the more to get our news from more reliable and independent sources. Good journalism does still exist– in the wild, lawless West known as the internet.