In Defense of Narrowcasting

A month or so ago, a media dude was griping on NPR about how the web etc. has given us the opportunity to see, read and hear everything we want faster than ever before; but in having access to only these things, we are losing touch with each other. Without our daily newspaper and our daily evening news, we aren’t sharing, understanding our great american discussion.

Whatever.

In the last two days I have had my fill of popular media. It may be that there its voice is reaching more people, but when that voice is as corrupt and narrow as those I actually do want to hear, whats the point? One of my local news stations broadcast a hate piece about migrant workers in Pittsburgh the other day. I had the misfortune of watching a local newscast while waiting for my car to be inspected yesterday- it was literally the worst thing I’ve ever watched. Chasing violence whenever and wherever they could, one of the stories was actually entitled “Violent Encounter” because that is literally all it was. Where is the news that actually affects the people of my city? Why don’t we have reporters talking about our city’s police force? The recently approved raise our state government just gave itself? The entire newscast was about babies getting hit by cars and people hitting each other. Violence is a horrible thing, but its not news. News is something that affects my life. Traffic reports are news. Corruption at city hall is news. Fetishizing violence does nothing for anyone.

WITH THAT SAID, I would rather download a few podcasts from sources who’s voices I trust, who are talking about events that matter to me, or at least make me fucking laugh. Besides that, maybe for an aging NPR commentator people are losing touch with what’s happening, but the truth is its got as much to do with cable TV as it does the internet. And television and newspapers lack something the internet actually provides- and people take advantage of! Dialogue! Either by message boards or blog comments or blogging itself, there are more voices in the big soup of discussion than there have probably ever been. Does it make it harder to find whats important? Maybe, but I’d rather engage with the voices of my people than a faceless corporation- and I’m really not trying to sound cliche here- whose sole aim is profit. Ratings are all that matter on television these days, and because of it news- both national and local- is practically devoid of valuable information. Let it die.