The Death of Journalism

The Death of Journalism

Daman Decker, Student Voice Editor

Modern TV “journalism” has been collapsing in slow motion before our very eyes for years now. This is not to say that the medium is dying, because it’s not. Tucker Carlson’s show was one of the highest rated TV programs on cable. What really has been dying is the integrity of the medium itself, which has strayed very far from what can be considered true journalism.

Modern news outlets like Fox and CNN have become more of a platform for entertainment rather than a tool for the public to be informed about the running of the country and state of the world. They have become personality-driven talk shows that function as instructional guides on what to believe. However, with the departure of possibly the two biggest voices of the Left and Right, Don Lemon and Tucker Carlson, respectively, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel for this era of outrage content and TV brainwashing.

News has always been personality-driven. Separating the journalist from the news is impossible, and the writer’s voice always bleeds through the words they’ve written. especially in mediums like television and radio where you can hear the literal voice of the journalist. Titans of the industry like Walter Cronkite and Larry King were broadly respected and trusted by the nation; but something changed.

Today’s TV hosts are reviled by at least one side of the aisle, and sometimes risen to a deity-like state by the other. This could simply be chalked up to increased partisanship within American politics and left at that. But there’s been a shift within journalism itself in recent decades that has threatened to destroy it in a traditional sense, and that is the internet.

Anyone with a smartphone can now be a journalist, and this has cut out the middleman of the traditional journalist in many situations. News has now become communal, and this has made print news media and radio completely irrelevant. It now serves no purpose beyond catering to old people who have not adapted with the times. It has neutered an industry that really has no response to its job being effectively replaced with amateurs.

Despite this, traditional media still has a major sway over a large swathe of the population. Clips from everyone’s favorite personalities on these news channels get posted everywhere, and now people can take in the highlights without the context. In an industry’s dying breaths, we see it radicalized and do anything to be relevant, to be necessary, even if it is spreading disinformation about an election causing the country to suffer an attempted insurrection.

Fox News settled with Dominion Voting Systems for $787 million to avoid a defamation lawsuit. It was revealed that Fox News executives knowingly spread disinformation by saying that the election was rigged. They had no evidence or reasoning for these claims, they just knew it would boost ratings.

With Fox facing more lawsuits of a similar manner, we see the death of journalism as we know it. Truth has been replaced with opinion, as that’s what’s more appealing to a lot of Americans. With the departure of Tucker Carlson and Don Lemon we see a step in the right direction, but more systematic changes have to occur in order for this to be a lasting change. As consumers of media, we need to stop incentivizing bad journalism. We need to make it so that journalism has to be honest to appeal to us as viewers.

Journalism and freedom of the press are foundational tenets of democracy; that’s why it was addressed in the first amendment. When journalism falls, democracy dies.