By Zack Downing, Staff Writer
National news is in a strange place right now.
On one side, the U.S. president has some sort of vendetta against it. On the other side, younger generations are turning to BuzzFeed, Facebook and the Daily Mail to get their news, sites that make journalism look like a joke.
For the most part, reputable news sources like CNN and popular newspapers have stood firm in the maelstrom and have continued to deliver good reporting.
However, many have criticized news stations for focusing too much on Donald Trump’s Twitter account and trivial stories like Kaepernick, and not focusing on bigger-picture news like the destruction of Puerto Rico.
Are news programs being flakey when it comes to stories?
It’s no secret that news networks are all about ratings and stories that will get the most viewers to tune in. A station will always prioritize a scandal like the Anthony Weiner sexting nonsense over foreign policy and budget reform, because more people find it interesting even if it doesn’t affect them directly.
In 2017, it’s nearly impossible to watch an hour of news without seeing a screenshot of a Donald Trump tweet.
When people complain about the dumbing down of the media, they direct your attention to the fact that Trump’s Twitter is the headline rather than more mature subject matter.
Here’s where the problem lies: in the Trump presidency, his tweets aren’t flakey, useless fragments that pass under the radar, his tweets are the only things we get from him.
Normally, news surrounding the U.S. president would come from press conferences, budget proposals, speeches, public addresses, and other presidential means.
Trump has only had one press conference.
His Twitter isn’t the headline because it always gets ratings; his Twitter is all CNN, NBC and Fox have to work with.
If Trump tweets that he hates China, it’s the equivalent of Obama walking out to a podium in front of the White House and stating he hates China.
Trump’s Twitter account is his podium in front of the press. It’s not that the news has gotten dumber, it’s that politics under Trump have gotten dumber.
That being said, his tweets aren’t insignificant, they draw deserved attention. His threatening of North Korea on Twitter is both serious business and a story that the public wants to tune in and see.
NFL players kneeling during the anthem isn’t a giant story by itself, and thus, news networks let it fizzle. However, as soon as Trump shared his mind about it, it again exploded in both the news and public conversation.
Critics will say, “There are still more important governmental stories happening now, like the GOP healthcare plans.”
None of the healthcare plans flew far enough to warrant a feature story, and we never knew the intricate details about them because they were so short lived.
In short, the national media hasn’t been picking trivial fluff and ratings grabs to report on, America just isn’t giving the media mature stories to report on.
The Trump administration is so juvenile that the actual news stories that come from the president/government are deemed superfluous.
In light of that, does the national media need some reforming? Sure, and it always has.
Networks such as NBC and CNN should focus more on facts and worldwide events than they do currently, leaving fiery ten-minute debates and more sensationalist stories for their night-time shows.
If they’re worried that taking the opinion and ratings grabs out of their 6:00 p.m. programs will hurt viewership, they should look at C-SPAN, a boring factual news network that has survived in solitary since the 70’s.
Another issue is the “clickbait-y” headlines that have been cropping up in newspapers as respected as the New York Times and Boston Globe. Newspapers are where readers go to escape the internet’s clickbait and false information, and it shouldn’t be spilling into print.
Speaking of which, we should probably get rid of the NY Daily News.
As for internet journalism, it’s horrible. Websites like Complex, Vice, Alternet, any “real news” site with a cool logo, are all trash.
Everything they report is extremely biased, half of it plain wrong, and it’s the only place some people our age read news.
If you’re reading a news article with bad grammar and an ad under it that says, “Doctors hate this man who figured out how to lose weight with candy!” leave the site forever.
We need to start over with internet journalism. Huffington Post, you’re on extremely thin ice.