Local news reporting might be more objective
You need only to turn on your television to hear the opinion of a talk show host posing as a newscaster.
But who really cares what he or she thinks?
Some unknowing viewers actually think of those hosts as newsmen and newswomen. News "shows" have become entertainment and some of the entertainers even tell you they are journalists.
You will hear these wannabe newscasters either trying to be "newsmakers" or busy interviewing others in similar positions and with similar opinions. TV talk show hosts interview popular radio talk show hosts. They set up panel discussions they can control, with editors of publications that share their leanings, and then pass it off as "news."
Most are marginally entertaining, at best.
A good example was when France refused to participate in the March 2003 U.S. attack on Iraq, so a Fox talk show host called for a boycott of French products and encouraged Americans not to eat french fries, which actually came from Belgium. It WAS funny.
They all want to appear to be important. Some of these hosts want to be king makers, as well. They've lost sight of their responsibility to report news, accurately and objectively.
In my humble opinion as a former newsman from a much earlier era, they spend too much time trying to sway our opinion.
Fox and CNN are the best examples of a lack of journalism, but the so-called "mainstream" broadcast media aren't too far behind their cable cousins.
It also is not limited to broadcast media. National magazines and major newspapers around the country are almost as guilty, editorializing in their selection and placement of stories, the use of covers and front pages, and more.
Remember when opinion was relegated, and correctly so, to the editorial pages?
If you're old enough to remember when newscasters/ newsreaders didn't use their program time to voice their own opinions or to promote their own agendas or candidates, you know what I mean.
Then there is the never-ending list of "experts" and "consultants" called upon to give the appearance of credibility. A few years ago, folks joked that Fox continued to promote the war in Iraq because it had 50 more retired generals and 100 more retired field grade officers who hadn't yet had their 90 seconds of fame as "Fox contributors."
You can tell by what questions the hosts ask and how they phrase their questions what cause or candidate they are promoting. Striving to be accurate no longer seems important. And if you have to repeat "fair and balanced" 80 times a day, you can almost bet it isn't. When they call it a "no-spin" zone, you can bet that every story is being spun.
Now, consider the local print and broadcast news.
Our local reporters, editors and publishers, newscasters, general managers and others in both print and broadcast seem to do a much better job of being objective than their national counterparts.
You don't see KGMB's Kim Gennaula interviewing news director Kayla Rosenfeld of Hawaii Public Radio for facts about a local news story. If viewers want to hear what Kayla is reporting, they can tune in to KHPR. And you don't see reporters from the Star-Bulletin interviewing their counterparts at the Advertiser. Local journalists seem to be more objective and more concerned with reporting the news than those on the networks or in national publications.
And on 24-hour "news" channels, everything is a "News Alert," even after it has been run and rerun a dozen times throughout the day.
Gimme a break!
Keith Haugen is a former Star-Bulletin writer and editor from the 1960s and '70s.