The Foothill Dragon Press

Days of serious journalism seem to be long gone

Canela Lopez

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Lately, real news doesn't seem to be taken as seriously. Credit: Claire Stockdill/The Foothill Dragon Press

Lately, real news doesn’t seem to be taken as seriously. Credit: Claire Stockdill/The Foothill Dragon Press

Long gone are the days of serious political journalism, where the American people could get the facts about a politician and not be bombarded with rumors and scandals revolving around said politician. Long gone are the days when genuine reporters like Walter Cronkite and Peter Jennings could report the news as it was originally intended to be reported.

Instead, we are left with television networks and print publications that report stories that seem to belong on TMZ or America’s Funniest Home Videos.

One recent topic that has been flitting around the internet and passing off as “relevant to politics” is Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney’s comment about how airplane windows should be able to open. I will be the first to acknowledge that I am not a Romney supporter, but in all honesty I highly doubt he was being serious. The comment was made a couple of days after his wife’s plane had to make an emergency landing due to an electrical fire caused within the aircraft. Call me crazy but I believe, in his own twisted way, he was just trying to lighten the mood of the situation.

However writers and anchors alike had other plans in mind for this blunder. As soon as the video of Romney went viral he was barraged by the onslaught of articles and broadcasts over his silly little comment. Though most of these snarky comments and remarks were true, I highly doubt that any analysis of the situation is relative to Romney’s campaign. It’s not as if his first act of business (if he were elected) would be to ban all non-opening airplane windows.

This little incident does not even begin to scratch the tip of the metaphorical iceberg of irrelevant bloopers of politics. 

President George W. Bush provided our great nation with a plethora of ignorant statements and awkward situations that the press couldn’t seem to get enough of. Though his policies alone were enough to keep the monster that is the critical news media well-fed, reporters had to feed at the scraps and focus on all of his little blunders which had absolutely no relevance to his politics.

Giving the Chancellor of Germany an awkward, uninvited neck rub may be creepy, worrisome and a bit odd, but it does not explain to anyone why Bush was budgeting all of America’s surplus money so poorly. 

Now, as a very opinionated person with the power of the web at her fingertips, I understand that it is difficult not to poke fun at the verbal blunders of politicians and public figures. But in order for any journalist to be taken seriously, the press needs to refrain from reporting irrelevant garbage just for the sake of good television. People need to understand that the news is just that – news. It was never intended to be entertaining or interesting. It was designed specifically for delivering important facts to the American people.

What would the country have been like if early newsletters and pamphlets had only focused on Thomas Jefferson’s affair with his slave or William Taft’s embarrassing bathtub incident?

Blunders and scandals do not change the acts of politicians. They do not change policies, they do not change agendas and most importantly they should not change how the people perceive them.

Journalists need to stop treating our country’s politics as one giant reality television show and the American people need to stop enabling bad reporters. Otherwise, the art of journalism and broadcasting will be doomed to a future of biased blogs and trashy tabloids with sophisticated sounding names.

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Days of serious journalism seem to be long gone