In these days of newspaper bankruptcies, one frequently hears the complaint that the younger generation doesn’t read newspapers and is therefore less informed than their elders. The other day I heard a laid-off journalist on NPR turning that last supposition on its head. Far from uninformed, the youngsters are better informed because they take their news from many, many sources and understand that a writer’s political position influences content. And he likened the Daily Show to high quality editorial page material.
Audiences’ turn away from “objective reporting” to partisan sources and fake news (i.e., Daily Show, Colbert, and the Onion), was a sign that they were aware that our media system had been captured (or if you prefer, manipulated) by and for fairly specific political and economic interests. And even as the press shakes off the torpor of the Bush years, fake news remains one of the few places in which “journalists” can get across in plain words what is happening to our economy.
This clip from the humor paper/site The Onion, Autoworkers Compete to Keep Jobs, Livelihoods on New Reality Show, is a good example (for the life of me, I can’t figure out how to embed it, sorry). In all the reporting about the auto bailout, the gnashing of teeth about “nationalization,” “socialism,” and the allegedly lush life led by autoworkers and their fat benefits, little ink is spilled (digitally or in analog) detailing the grim facts for hourly employees at the Big Three. Best case scenario: 10s of thousands lose their jobs, those remaining work harder for lower wages and fewer benefits, and one generation of working people is pitted against another. Not a pretty sight. The only thing to add is that the worker-against-worker competition has also spread to the white collar workforce in the industry.
Thanks to Michael M. for sending the clip along.