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4 Reasons We've Stopped Trusting the Media

#2. Less News, More Opinion

Of course an awful lot of what the media does these days isn't reporting at all, but providing what they call "analysis" and what I would call "ass debris." The problem is that every day there are millions of words and hours of television to be filled, whether anything is happening or not. Which means that when there isn't news, it's got to be made. Again, this is most obvious in the political realm, where every single thing that happens, as well as, oddly, every single thing that doesn't happen, gets analyzed to death to determine what effect it might have on the election "horse race."

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An apt comparison for elections, but for the fact that horse races don't take two fucking years, and the ladies wear funnier hats.

Just as an example, Mitt Romney made the news recently for claiming that 47 percent of the population were filthy urchins bent on harvesting organs from the whole-bodied. As a piece of news, that doesn't take long to communicate. Even a discussion of whether or not he has a point has been strangely lacking, brushed aside by heated discussions on what effect this would have on the "horse race," which has caused people who might have been interested in actual news to turn off their televisions in frustration and devise their own metaphors by "shitting their chairs" like a "racehorse."

"Wait a Second. Why Should I Believe You?"

Ahh, you noticed how basically this whole article is opinion, did you? Clever girl. Well, I think it's reasonably permissible in this case, given Cracked's established status not as a vessel for hard news reporting, but as a farcical opinion and poop-joke factory. So whether you believe me or not should depend on what you came here for.

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You: "... It actually was the poop jokes. You got lucky."

#1. Nowadays, Everyone's a Critic

There's an awful lot of criticism of the media now, far more than in any other era in history. You do it, bloggers do it, politicians do it, the media does it. "Journalism" is now a slightly less respected career path than "sex tourism." Compare that to 30 years ago, where if you wanted to bitch about the newspaper, your only platform was writing a letter. To the newspaper. And you couldn't expect other media outlets or reporters to pick apart their counterparts' reporting; it was rude, and it limited career options.

Now of course we have an Internet jam-packed full of people who couldn't give two malformed turds about their career options in the media. Criticizing the media is a perennial favorite blog topic, and has even spread to outlying members of the actual media. Like, for example, Cracked itself, as shown by our award-deserving articles on the laughable state of health reporting and bullshit political stories.

And that's fairly innocuous criticism, the kind without any particular agenda other than to educate and entertain. Far more irritating to the general public is the politically motivated criticism, where a blogger or reporter with a specific agenda criticizes something in the media simply to further their own goal or confuse and muddy an issue. Not that there's an easy way to tell the two types of criticism apart; every reporter, blogger and soapbox percher will claim they're acting neutrally. Not that that will stop you from trying to tell them apart, generally by finding the ones you personally disagree with and declaring them to be deceitful shrews.

"Wait a Second. Why Should I Believe You?"

It's quite a pickle, isn't it? An entire article full of criticisms of the media, criticisms of other people's criticisms, defenses of my criticisms and criticisms of others' defenses. I wouldn't know what to believe anymore either. And surely by now you have to be worried about whether I have an agenda that I'm trying to secretly advance with all of this.

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You: "This is a Chris Bucholz article, so it's probably 'sex with animals.'"

And I do. My agenda is to make you more critical of the things you read. You're right to be distrustful of the media; there's too much evidence of their laziness and biases and fuck-ups to not be. Heck, they're probably almost as lazy and biased and fucked up as we are.

And there's the second part of the agenda, the part you probably weren't doing yet -- being more critical of the things you think. Every time you dismiss something without reading it, or brush past a story because of its source, at least be aware of the laziness and biases and fuck-ups of your own that led to you making that choice. I trust your judgment; your beliefs and biases probably are right. But if they're so right, they can surely take some critical self-reflection every now and then, right?

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You: "God, I hope he's not starting to have doubts about sexing animals."

Never.


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