"Experts" & The Decline of the American News Media
Probably nothing is more annoying to me than the plethora of "experts" who have infested the modern American news media in the last decade or so. It seems in fact the corporate GOP mainstream media has substituted talking-head in-studio "experts" for the investigative reporting and rooting-out of the truth they used to traffic in. Here's an example.
I was astonished and horrified that during one high-school-shooting-hostage crisis last year; both CNN and FOX News had "hostage negotiator experts" giving a play-by-play, with accompanying live action camera trained on the school and police. They speculated about every possible variance of outcomes and police strategy. The live-camera looked like a still-photograph, nothing actually happened for hours, and the "experts" began to discuss the possible mental health and mental pressures of the kidnapper(s) shooter(s) not even knowing if there was more than one, and what the police were thinking, their strategies etc. "This is what the police negotiator would be thinking.....this is what the hostage-taker would be thinking....., so the negotiator will want to calm the perpetrator by offering food and try to find out the condition of the hostages blah blah blah etc etc.......well I wasn't the hostage-taker or the police....but as I listened with fascinated dread I wondered: What if the kidnapper(s) had the TV on in there? Mightn't an "expert" speculate they could get really pissed at being called mentally ill and having their headshrunk by this "expert" on national TV and maybe lose it and shoot a few people? Could the "experts" be tipping them off to what police do and don't do? The "experts", never mentioned or imagined, nor evidently did CNN and FOX, the possibility that his own actions and words could trigger further violence....Jeeeezus!!!
I guess Dr Joyce Brothers, who was a Tonight Show standing joke, would rank up there among the first TV "experts".
But the "experts" modern media cult really got traction with Phil Donahue, Oprah and other such nonsensical made-for-TV mass therapy-gossip-tabloid programs. They taught Americans that they are a country dysfunctional manic-depressives and to prove it, the list of bulls***-artists, con-artists, head-shrinkers, moralists, evangelists and snake-oil salesmen, collectively called "experts", that the "talk-shows" stuffed down the gullet of the gullible public was endless; and they're still trotting them out by the dozen today. Many "experts" who started out back then have come to have TV and radio shows of their own or went to Congress. I found it absurd and perplexing that anybody could listen to their crap for more than two minutes without busting a gut laughing...but laughing is good therapy ...and it's just entertainment after all...right? Right. But is journalism/news just entertainment?
Little did I suspect those 15 years ago that before long all the heretofore serious news networks and agencies would increasingly rely more and more on "experts" to report the "inside scoop" of every news story, scandal and person that came over the news-wire. Amazing stuff! No longer was the reporter out there in the field risking life and limb, digging for the truth, asking the tough questions and finding the real story. It was all right there in the studio. Together with the "think-tank"( what ever in hell that is?) intellectuals, and the compliant stupid "newsreaders" these charlatans took control of the national dialogue.
What any of these people actually ever did to deserve the title of "expert" is rarely explained, except occasionally as with the likes of FOX News law-enforcement "expert" Mark Ferman who helped blow the OJ murder case, or Tom Delay, an "expert" on Congressional corruption, their notorious history automatically qualifies them I suppose.
The "experts" really took root in the news-media with Clinton and the media/right-wing conspiracy to scandalize him over sexual trysts and other trivial nonsense. That marked the true beginning of tabloid politics and the "experts" came out of the woodwork. After all, everybody's an "expert" at gossip, otherwise known as talking s***. They all marched through the networks, straight-faced-serious, speculating that Clinton's perjury, (a lie about a blojob in lawsuit without merit), would destroy the American justice system if he wasn't impeached and punished.
Of course they were waaaaay off wrong as they usually (but not always) are. George Bush, his many lies, Guantanamo Bay, Constitutional abuses, the Patriot Act, spying on Americans etc. destroyed the American justice system. It's funny how none of these same "experts" have ever made that simple observation these past seven years.