Modern Radio & Television Talk Shows –
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
The culture of celebrity has purportedly undermined serious journalism. Certainly serious journalism seems a distant memory in this country-of an era when Walter Cronkite was as trustworthy warmly telling the evening news as our impressions of Walt Disney or, one, wherein the courage and integrity of a Katherine Graham of The Washington Post could challenge, confront and victoriously expose the corruption of the Nixon administration. Modern authors, like James Fallows in Breaking The News, believe the culture of celebrity and the modern media have undermined democracy itself. Other writers, like Howard Kurtz in Hot Air, argue that radio and talk show content, issues, hosts and guests have become coarsened and exist only in direct proportion to their ability to generate ratings. It appears the nightmarish and unbelievable world Paddy Chayefsky painted in his Oscar winning script for Network, in which an anchorman is assassinated due to poor ratings, is as upon us as Orwell’s “big brother” in 1984. Yet, the culture of celebrity, the development of the sound-bite-oriented generation-X-ers and an insane push for ratings (i.e., return on investment) may have undermined serious journalism and threaten American democracy itself. However, there are larger underlying factors. Perhaps the chief phenomenon allowing for this erosion is the commoditization of journalism. With the advent of various talk radio and TV talk shows, the barriers between entertainment and news have been dissolving for the past decade. The reason why? The desire of new owners to make news and talk shows more profitable, i.e., attract higher numbers of viewers. Who are these new owners? It is simple. The amazing amount of mergers and purchases in the past decade or so have seen just seven giant corporations...