24-hour news cycle one cause of cable's factual unreliability

300 dpi Charles Waltmire color illustration of Daily Show host Jon Stewart as compared to Socrates. The Sacramento Bee 2007

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Television news as we know it has reached a new pinnacle of excellence.

Jon Stewart has been recognized as the best modern journalist. The downside is, this means the news channels have reached the bottom of a long, slowly downward slope to being a laughingstock. The problem is not merely politics and corporate sponsorship, but the fact 24-hour news has slowly ruined the media by its demands.

Because these stations are on all day every day, they have to fill that time somehow. The result is poorly researched news, talk shows with a news based leaning, and CNN’s obsession with technology, which if anything has made things worse.

With twitter and the Internet, news can be obtained mere moments after it happens, as opposed to being hours or even days old in newspapers, and having political slants more ways than can seem possible if on the cable news.

Back in the old days when there were all of three channels, news was reserved for half an hour or so once a day. This tradition lives on in local channels in a given area. The problem is twenty-four hour news took this idea and turned it into something too big to handle. Covering news all day every day is an exacting task that shows when you see how some things are not researched because they are reported immediately.

Technology has this same limitation, but the journalists on TV typically have more notoriety than a writer, and this means their mistakes are more glaring and more of a detriment to the media and their skills.

Politics is another problem in the cable news. This political slant will take news and rather than objectively report it like they are supposed to, they’ll analyze it from their own biases without any attempt to hide that bias. The result is news that isn’t really news because it has become a twisted review of the news.

The solution to this problem might be as simple as removing cable news networks. This however means people will be deprived of 24-hour news. Despite our increasing reliance on the Internet, this could still have problems.

However, moving the news to an online media that posts news in an unbiased way may work, like a sort of digital Internet network. My grasp of technology is limited, but it would probably be like Webisodes.

In the end though it is not the news that is at final fault, but the viewer who fails to verify the news. As sad as it is, we have come to a point where we cannot always trust the news placed before us, and we must therefore verify it ourselves. How long this trend will last I don’t know, but sooner or later the media will learn this and hopefully change to be once again a reliable source of information.

Until that day, I will unashamedly watch “The Daily Show” and read Yahoo for my news and verify as needed.

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