The Age of Dumb
As ususal, we had CNN on in the newsroom today and I was, as usual, reminded just how crappy the "News Network of Record" usually is. Larry King was on, taking a break from his breathless "coverage" of Anna Nicole Smith and promotion of American Idol to lob softballs to Laura "the Joker" Bush, followed by a short interview with James Cameron about whether researchers (and I use that term in the loosest possible sense) had actually found the actual tomb of the actual Jesus.
This lead into a segment on "Mysteries of the Bible" with former MuchMusic VJ and senior CNN hair model John "JD" Roberts exploring the usual parade of long since debunked religious based scams - the shroud of Turin, the search for Noah's Ark etc etc - while a constant computer graphic scrolled the words "faith" "religion" and "Jesus" in a quasi-subliminal way in the sceen margin.
The sound was off so I can't say for sure that Roberts wasn't ridiculing the notion that Noah Ark was for real, but given the tenor of the discussion on Larry King, in which the only person he really seemed to challenge was the scientist who was rightfully contemptuous of the notion of "proving" it was Jesus and Mary Magdelene in the tomb through DNA testing, and the current fear in the media of offending any nutbar's oh-so-sacred religious sensibilities, I'll go out on a limb and guess that his was not the skeptical point of view. The King show transcript for the Jesus tomb James Cameron segment isn't available yet, but you can find his hard-hitting interview with the first lady here.
However, lest you think it is just something in the water in the USA, CNN brings us this gem from South Korea on how children are learning that Jews control the United States.
I guess my biggest complaint about CNN and the 24-hour cable news horrorshows in general is that they constantly pander to the lowest common denominator (yeah, yeah I know, it's TV -- what the hell did I expect) with mindless celebrity worship, fearmongering sensationalist crime stories, unspeakably shallow analysis of complex issues, the not so subtle reinforcement of the notion that having money makes you smart and important and the non-stop dumbing down of western culture. If the 24-hour cable news station were the irrelevant sideshow they seem to aspire to be, such a lack of serious news content would be one thing, but the problem is that they now set the public agenda in United States and to a lesser extent the Western world as a whole.
As Jon Stewart so famously said to Tucker Carlson and Paul Begalla "Stop, stop, stop, stop hurting America"
"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"
Monday, February 26, 2007
The Age of Dumb