Monday, February 2, 2009

New Storyline: Old Media Is Dead

I was shouting at the screen, infuriated that I couldn't enjoy the game without the unwelcome commentary of the maddening broadcasters. You see, I am passionate about college basketball and an avid fan of the Gonzaga Bulldogs. I had been looking forward to the game for weeks. St. Mary's and Gonzaga were meeting for the first time in conference play, both undefeated in the West Coast Conference, and both meeting for the first time in history as ranked opponents. The victor would take command of first place in the league and gain solid advantage in the race for to be regular season champion. St. Mary's was led by Patrick Mills, a great shooter who performed very well in the last Olympics for his native Australian national team. Gonzaga students camped out in frigid temperatures for days prior to the game to get a seat. This was a huge game.

As I sat down with my family to watch the game, broadcast by ESPN, we immediately knew what ESPN's storyline was going to be: Patrick Mills. For the next two hours, the name of the St. Mary's point guard was the sole topic of conversation. It was quite evident that the ESPN broadcasters had not done their homework because they would barely say a word about anybody else on the court. How many times could they repeat in one game that Patrick Mills had played admirably in the Olympics. How many times could they marvel about his shooting ability...or his leadership...or his speed...or his passing...or his shoe size. Had you been listening to the game and not watching you might have thought that Patrick Mills was playing one-on-one with...Patrick Mills. You would hardly know that Gonzaga won the game. And to make it all the more infuriating, Patrick Mills left the game with three minutes left in the first half due to injury and never returned to the game. And yet, he is all they talked about. It was one of the worst broadcast performances I have ever seen.

It got me wondering about the media in general. If the mainstream media has a storyline, how on earth could the other side of the story ever have a hope of breaking through? The Arab/Israeli conflict is a case in point. It is quite obvious that the storyline of the major media, led in print media by the New York Times and in broadcast media by ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and the BBC, is that the Palestinians are resisting an illegal occupation by the Israelis any way then can, and the Israelis use disproportionate force to repress and murder, indiscriminately, innocent Palestinians. Pictures of dead Palestinian women and children (made available by Hamas) regularly populate the front page of the Times and lead the evening news broadcasts. The story of terrorized innocent Israelis never make the news. Pictures of Palestinian militants deliberately launching rockets from civilian areas rarely make the news. You see, they don't conform to the mainstream media's storyline. Are mainstream media outlets really concerned with presenting a fair and balanced story in context? Obviously not. They are only interested in promoting their world view. In other words, they are only interested in broadcasting propaganda.

For this very reason, more and more Americans are turning away from mainstream media outlets and get their news and commentary from other cable news outlets, like Fox News, and the new media. While traditional media laments their waning influence and ability to filter the news for public consumption, I believe that the new media (internet news services, blogs, YouTube, etc.), absent the filter of the main stream media's liberal world view, is often the best source for untainted news and the broadest perspective.

Take, for example, this amazingly engaging video below posted on YouTube by a young teenage Israeli girl as she gives a perspective to the Arab/Israeli conflict that you will likely NEVER hear in the mainstream media:

Having rarely heard such a compelling and heartfelt testimony from the Israeli point of view, I feel absolutely cheated by traditional media. I do not share the mainstream media's liberal, anti-American, anti-Israel world view and am offended by their continuing overt attempts to form public opinion to conform to their ideology. For that reason, I look forward to the demise of opinion-makers like the New York Times as it continues to careen toward bankruptcy, a victim of the public's turn toward new media...and truth.