~ Edward R. Murrow
In 1989, Vince McMahon didn’t want to pay those pesky athletic commission fees anymore, so he rebranded professional wrestling as sports entertainment. Almost thirty years later, internet wrestling fans still fight about this on Reddit. The defining feature of sports is that an individual or team compete for a victory. In pro wrestling, the wrestlers are as impressive as any other professional athletes, but the outcome is predetermined, hence sports entertainment.
I admit Vince McMahon and Edward R. Murrow don’t normally belong in the same discussion. But if Edward R. Murrow had turned on the box with wires and lights, he would have labeled Fox News, CNN and even my beloved MSNBC as news entertainment. The defining characteristic of news is that it covers fact. In this election season, fact was as MIA as Donald Trump’s taxes. We were left with mere news entertainment, low-brow entertainment at that.
On the cusp of the most unprecedented presidency, say that five times fast, we need true journalism now more than ever. It was journalists who exposed Watergate, published the Pentagon Papers and shined a spotlight on the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse. We don’t need SNL caricatures trading talking points nightly under the headline of news. We definitely don’t need Facebook masquerading as a newsroom. Like E! News and Entertainment Tonight, the only news the Social media king should be trusted with is engagements, weddings, breakups and babies.
It was almost sixty years ago, when Edward R. Murrow warned us about a, “decisive battle to be fought against ignorance, intolerance and indifference.” We are in that battle now and we need the best army to win. That’s why this week I updated my budget to enlist the best.
$1.99/week for a digital subscription to the LA Times.
$12.99/3 months for a digital Newsweek based solely on the impressive investigative reports of Kurt Eichenwald this election season. If more people read his work this past election season, we would be saying President Elect Clinton.
$3.75/week for a digital subscription to the New York Times. Donald Trump spent his first weekend as president elect attacking the NYT and solidifying my $3.75 a week to the “The Gray Lady.”
Total Weekly investment: $6.75 That’s less than what I paid for my lunch at Panera today and will far exceed the health benefits, no matter how many “clean fresh food” ads Panera runs.
I believe the gorgeous SONY box mounted in my living room is more than wires and lights. I believe this most powerful instrument “can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire.” But like all instruments, it’s only as good as the person who plays it. I hope the players get better, we need them.
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