Four Corners: WTF Media?
Sarah S. Menendez: The media obviously has a lot of issues that span over a great number of topics, national media, the big talking heads and night time news tend to focus on politics and one of the things they have been focusing a lot on has been sex scandals. I think it’s nothing new for us — that the media does this — but then we kind of have to question why this sort of coverage is normalized in American media. Anthony Weiner was a mess the first time and we think, ‘Okay that’s it he’s done,’ and then here he is running for mayor and the media glorifies this. And then he messes up again and media makes a circus of this whole situation. It’s just really embarrassing because there are so many political issues that are of importance at the same time and no one is covering it.
Lauren Shepherd: Americans are ready to move on, that’s what I think is the hard part is that the media is trying to gauge what Americans want to see and that’s the problem, the media needs to follow traditional journalism and they need to tell us what we need to hear, not what we want to hear. A lot of people in America just want something that is entertaining and are not focused on the real problems, but journalism needs to get passed that. That’s always been the problem with media, they are just feeding into the American’s queue.
SM: Yeah, it’s the whole entertainment vs. information problem.
Tyler Christian: I feel like that goes for anything in entertainment pretty much. TV, movies, music, they’re still trying to cash in on a fad that should’ve ended years ago, but it goes back to the fact that people still want it. At some point you just got to let it rest and move on, unfortunately that’s just the generation we’ve been put into. We’re reproducing everything.
LS: Speaking again about this whole generation thing where it constantly needs to be told the same thing over and over again. With things like Instagram and Twitter, it’s like our brains require it, you have to see it more than once.
Eli Heller: It’s interesting that whether or not a story gets published it has the most to do with shock value than anything. Which is just like, why has it come to that?! Is it a recent thing? It’s all online now, it’s so fast with IMing and Skype and texting, it’s all super immediate so they want to grab your attention and have you click on a story as soon as possible. Also, talking about sex scandals in the United States specifically — it makes me wonder if it’s like this in other countries. I have to say, it probably isn’t. Because, in European countries sex education is more prominent throughout education in general so people are less shocked with things that have to do with sex, so it wouldn’t be as big of news.
LS: That’s very true. I was just in Paris and they has big billboards and they had a picture of a condom and it says “I am your friend.” Like you said, it’s literally sex education.
SM: I think in these situations it’s so interesting because with media, media’s purpose is to tell us what is going on in the world. But now, it seems to be a reflection of everything bad that happens in this country, I feel like it no longer serves an informative purpose anymore, which is what is really frustrating. And with movies, music, and television, to a certain extent they are not supposed to inform, but they are at least supposed to be a reflection of society and making a statement about something. And as much as trailblazing journalists and people in the media try revolutionizing and changing things, it still gets drowned by all of these things. It’s so frustrating how this happens. Eli, you bring up a good point: when did this happen? Was it always like this? And I think the answer is no. The media has its ups and downs at any point of history, really. It’s sad to see that news organizations are struggling because of this and it is a reflection of society because the American people are no longer invested in being informed correctly.
TC: They are really only invested in their own ideology.
LS: There is no progression in the information that we are getting.
TC: There’s always that example of during the Boston bombings, there were several news networks that basically falsified information to get people to think that’s the truth and it never was. Also, you brought up trailblazing reporters and that’s a rare breed now, since everything is exactly the same.
LS: It all goes back to media integrity.
TC: And the worst thing is that those writers that are honest. Sure, may not be on the same scale as these other big people are, but at least they are being honest about what they are saying. There are all these journalists in the media that are doing the opposite.
SM: I think that what you just said brings up such a great point. I think us as journalists — it sucks because there is this whole concept of selling your soul to mainstream media because right now we are going off into the world as young journalists and at least for me, the question is do I go and become an honest journalist who never gets recognized for their work or do I go to a mainstream publication where my work is probably going to be weeded down by the messages they are trying to portray. That’s what has become of the media.
Tyler Christian is a third-year film and media Studies major. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Eli Heller is a fourth-year literary journalism and art history double-major. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sarah S. Menendez is a third-year political science and literary journalism double-major. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Lauren Shepherd is a fourth-year literary journalism major. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.