News Media Has Become More about Selling a Headline than Actually Researching and Informing

oreillyUp through the day of the 2012 election, Fox News predicted Romney would win, and win by a large margin. I remember people smugly telling me to get ready for a Republican wave that would continue the Tea Party gains of 2010. I even had invites to a “victory party” the night of the election, just because they were so sure of the outcome, and wanted to enjoy the misery they thought I’d be enduring while watching the returns that evening. When I’d point out to them the numbers from Nate Silver and others, they’d laugh and say that was all garbage, according to Fox News of course.

They would point to the following Inauguration Day as “the end of an error,” much like the bumper stickers we saw during the Bush terms, and those of us in the know would just chuckle slightly. I mean, bless their heart — they were so convinced that Romney was going to win.

If you rely solely on one source of information just because it fits your world view, you’re setting yourself up for severe disappointment and embarrassment from this more often that you’d like to convince yourself. I touched on this fact in an article I wrote back in May, where I warned of “the dangers of becoming a Fox News intellectual zombie.

Journalism isn’t journalism anymore. Sadly, media (especially when it comes to politics) has become more about selling a headline and driving traffic for maximum ad revenue than actually researching a story regardless of the politically-influencing conclusion — and liberal media is not immune from this. Whether it is Breitbart, RedState, Daily Caller or any of the left’s versions of these sites, these are for-profit writers who rely on inflammatory headlines rather than a rational discussion or analysis of today’s issues.

In today’s age of technology and information on demand with tens of thousands of websites and other media sources screaming for a reader’s attention, it’s easy to abandon principles and go for the lowest common denominator. Whenever money is involved, the temptation to exchange ethics for maximum profit always comes up. That’s why you have Fox News. That’s why CNN went to a more partisan format. If you’ve ever noticed, MSNBC, Fox News and CNN have a lot of the same advertisers.

This didn’t happen because of backroom dealings between advertisers and Rupert Murdoch or other media moguls. We allowed it to happen. We abandoned thinking for ourselves for allowing others to tell us what to think and then spout talking points as a result. A perfect example of this is the fallout from the George Zimmerman trial and the outrage against the “Stand Your Ground” law, which if you paid attention, was NOT used as a defense in the case. Yet, over and over again, you’ll hear both conservatives and liberals talk about how this law got Zimmerman off the hook.

What’s the point of this article? I’m asking people to rationally analyze a story instead of blindly accepting it because it fits in with their biases. It may be a lot to ask, but if we can’t even do this much, it makes us no better than the Fox News audience we make fun of.


Facebook comments

  • StephanieAndDavid

    “Journalism isn’t journalism…” is true, but mostly the narrow broadcast media. FOX-TV, MSNBC, these are all entertainment, not news channels. You want real news? Listen the NPR, or (gasp) read a newspaper. Pay for your news so news outlets can pay their journalists and so that the news can remain separate from the money making side as was true before the internet.

    • MyStory Revealed

      Newspapers are owned by the same interests…very few and very narrow. Independent stories, especially if counter to the “accepted” story are either not run at all or buried somewhere behind supermarket coupons. There are some very good documentaries out about this. So, make no mistake, newspapers are every bit the purveyors of propaganda and sensationalism.

    • Larry

      I can see your point. But believe me, I’ve watched both channels, Fox and MSNBC, there is difference in the amount of blatant lies told. Fox News wins Hands down, every thing Faux News spins is either a down right lie if connected to Obama or at least a gross negative exaggeration. ie Obama Care, Spending, deficit etc.

      • StephanieAndDavid

        Yes. I agree. But we’re in the world of Jazz Journalism; celebs, scandals, trials of the century, lies and more lies. Yes, FOX-NEWS lies more than anyone. But, what we really need now is real news. To survive, it seems that all media is falling into this trap. I breaks my heart. I was trained in journalism and expected to make a living as the truth teller. Instead, I have to have a second job to keep up the good fight. I think someday that this will change. The Jazz Journalism of the 1920 ended with the Great Depression and WW II. The investigative journalism was a product of Watergate. This will all change, but how? No one knows.

  • mograph

    Newspapers are not immune; they often indulge in “press-release journalism,” relying on press releases to tell stories. Take a look at the number of stories that can be summed up as “so-and-so said this.”

    How many stories can be summed up as “so-and-so said this, but we dug deeper and found something quite different?”

    … Matt Taibbi notwithstanding.

  • Sebjacdaddy

    Stand your ground may not have been used by the defense, but the jurors who have spoken to the media have referenced it – so it obviously played some part in the outcome.

    • Miguel

      The judge also referenced “stand your ground” in the jury’s instructions.

  • Robert J Brown

    Manny – Please inform yourself and read the instructions to the jurors. This was tainted by Stand YG and the gun/deep south culture and climate in FL.


  • Edward Baker

    I believe in the Stand your ground law .I am disabled and cannot chase down someone who just robbed me . I do however should have the right to shoot them while they are still in possession of my stuff …

    • Sara

      No you do not. Stand your ground is to be applied if you think you’re in mortal danger…if someone snatches your purse and runs, clearly they’re not going to kill you, therefore you can’t use stand your ground to shoot them in the back.

      • Edward Baker

        Sara ,I am talking about them breaking into MY HOME and Robbing me …Why are you for the Criminals and Not the Victims …Oh by the way ,I don`t have a purse ,I carry a wallet and a Ruger SR9

      • Salty Dawg

        You basically misunderstand SYG and, apparently, didn’t understand the legal doctrine in effect prior to SYG. Prior to SYG you could protect your home. Now, SYG gives you (and your Ruger equalizer) the opportunity to start a fight and decide that murder is preferable to losing.

  • Nick Wride

    Fox is “news” for the ignorant and easily led. CNN is the same.

    • JoeBS

      MSNBC is the proper mirror image for Fox. CNN is still relatively reliable, despite the robots on their page that choose headlines from across various sections of news, and so infuriate the small minded idiots who cannot understand why there is such as thing as “Entertainment News,” yet who pore over the Sports Section every day as if it were gospel.

  • cjaxn

    What is offered on todays news is opinion not news, notice the verbiage that is used it is solely meant to perpetuate an idea that is party based. The English language is being subversively used against us in the form of the news.

  • Jayson

    Apparently you don’t approve comments that contradict your narrative, and show what a hypocrite you are. Shocking.

  • bluetah

    Funny the author should mention the “stand your ground” law- regarding George Zimmerman- the jury instructions practically force the jury to consider it without mentioning it- so research is important- maybe this writer didn’t check that out/