For the Love of Dirty Laundry

Even when the room is full it’s empty.

This was not prompted by any event specific event being bandied about on the television, on the radio or online.   Think of this as a primal scream from a particularly dark night of the soul.   No single event set me off.  It’s more of a cumulative effect of overexposure to too much raw bullshit being passed off as “news.”

I’ve come to a realization.   It isn’t original or even profound.  It just took me a while to recognize it even when I was having my nose rubbed in it.

The Washington press are lapdogs to power and privilege, starved for the newest “scandal,” live on the table scraps from their favorite insiders like John McCain and Newt Gingrich and do a lousy job of investigative journalism, interviewing and simple reporting.

As time goes by, I have less and less regard for the incestuous insider relationship between Washington-based “journalists” and the political power hub they slavishly bend the knee to.

If a Washington-based talking head tells you it’s freezing outside and there’s a snowstorm coming, open all your windows, put on a Hawaiian shirt and sunglasses and plan for a picnic at the beach. They lie, they deceive and they mislead.

What attracted me to journalism in the first place was I believed in how it was the unofficial Fourth Estate that served as part overseeing the Presidency, Judiciary and Legislative branches.

The press loves to quote Thomas Jefferson’s “…were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter” because it make them feel good about themselves.  What the press prefers to forget is Joseph Pulitzer’s admonishment that “A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself.”

If we’re not there yet, we’re well on the way to getting there, folks.

As just another cash-feeder to their corporate owners (CNN, Fox, MSNBC and the three network news programs, I’m looking at you) the first thing to go in these sleek, but stripped down to little more than fancy studio sets and movie special effects is foreign bureaus because who cares about what’s going on in Asia or Africa?  The next is anything that smacks of investigative reporting and documentaries.   The last and most obvious is even the thinnest pretext of objectivity.

We’re not mad as hell, but they’re trying to drive us mad as hell.

Coming from someone as opinionated as I am and as distrustful of the protestations from the press of their “impartiality” that might sound funny, but there’s nothing amusing about it.  As a calling I don’t know anyone still with a job feeling real comfortable about it.   As a craft, journalism is killing itself with its own unprofessionalism and sloppiness.  Reference CNN’s absolutely abysmal coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing where mistake after mistake after mistake was made for the evidence of  this.    I’ve had it up to here with the whole “get it first now and we’ll get it right later” mindset.

When the most sensible “journalist” is Jon Stewart that is a sure sign how lousy the profession of journalism is because  typically I cannot stand Jon Stewart.

At this time, I’m struggling not to give in to the prevailing sentiment that what we laughingly call “the mainstream media” is only concerned about superficiality, scandal, sex, sleaze, celebrity and mindless amusement of the masses while the critical, complicated and difficult decisions and issues go ignored and unreported.  And I’m losing that struggle.

I’ve never been more unhappy about the state of journalism or more depressed to be a journalist.   I hate to think that Sarah Palin was right.  About anything.   But she wasn’t all wrong when she dubbed the press “the lamestream media.”

We call it news, but only because that’s better than calling it what it has become; infotainment on a level that Network could only hint at.  Once upon a time  Paddy Chayefsky‘s Network was hailed as dark satire.   Now it’s  Monday night programming on cable news.

Not a real journalist but more respected than those who are.

I make my living off the Evening News
Just give me something-something I can use
People love it when you lose,
They love dirty laundry

Well, I coulda been an actor, but I wound up here
I just have to look good, I don’t have to be clear
Come and whisper in my ear
Give us dirty laundry

Kick ’em when they’re up
Kick ’em when they’re down
Kick ’em when they’re up
Kick ’em when they’re down
Kick ’em when they’re up
Kick ’em when they’re down
Kick ’em when they’re up
Kick ’em all around

We got the bubble-headed-bleach-blonde who
comes on at five
She can tell you ’bout the plane crash with a gleam
in her eye
It’s interesting when people die-
Give us dirty laundry

Can we film the operation?
Is the head dead yet?
You know, the boys in the newsroom got a
running bet
Get the widow on the set!
We need dirty laundry

You don’t really need to find out what’s going on
You don’t really want to know just how far it’s gone
Just leave well enough alone
Eat your dirty laundry

Kick ’em when they’re up
Kick ’em when they’re down
Kick ’em when they’re up
Kick ’em when they’re down

Kick ’em when they’re up
Kick ’em when they’re down
Kick ’em when they’re stiff
Kick ’em all around

Dirty little secrets
Dirty little lies
We got our dirty little fingers in everybody’s pie
We love to cut you down to size
We love dirty laundry

We can do “The Innuendo”
We can dance and sing
When it’s said and done we haven’t told you a thing
We all know that Crap is King
Give us dirty laundry!

~ “Dirty Laundry” by Don Henley & Danny Kortchmar

Advertisements

Don't Be Shy...Leave A Comment.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s