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Karaoke journalism & the 'lamestream' media circus

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The "lamestream' US TV media circus is reaching new lows (if that's possible) with its coverage of domestic & foreign news, as karaoke 'journalists' go through the motions of interviewing politicians and a range of other so-called policy experts.

Its no longer just Fox Noise, CNN (Crap Not News), or even ABC (America Broadcasting Crap), but even PBS (Public Bullshit) is plumbing the depths as it mimes what passes for 'informed' news reporting.

You can't blame any politician for sticking to their personal script in an effort to get their particular point of view across but what has happened to the skeptical enquiring mind of the interviewer?

How often do we have to watch a TV news interview where the journalist asks a question which the interviewee has absolutely no intention of answering but instead goes off on an entirely different subject? Rarely, if ever, does a TV journalist ever say "excuse me, but you haven't actually answered my question'. Instead, they just move on to the next question. Are they even aware of their failure to keep their subject on the topic? If not, then why even have a human being ask the questions? An unthinking machine or well-trained parrot could do the job equally well!

Long gone are the days when the likes of the BBC's Jeremy Paxman interviewed the then leader of the UK's Conservative Party, Michael Howard, and asked the same question twelve times in a row. Maybe the question never was answered satisfactorily but it effectively contributed to the rapid demise of Howard's political career.

Nowhere, does the USA have the likes of a Jeremy Paxman. Instead, we are fed a diet of fawning interviewers who soft-ball questions which are easily fobbed off by a glib sound-bit or a long dissembling excuse for a reply.

PBS's News Hour's Jim Lehrer is now one of the nation's worst offenders and is clearly well-past his use-by date. His interview last week with Vice-President Biden was a total waste of time, asking vacuous questions such as how well he got on with Mr.Obama. Seriously, what kind of answer was he ever going to get beyond an innocuous motherhood statement? The entire interview was a waste of space, a lost opportunity to put one of our leaders on the spot, and an insult to the watching public.

We don't expect much from commercial TV news anchors. After all, they are only reflecting the views of the bosses who pay them. But, we, the tax-payers fund PBS and should be getting better value for our money.

PBS News Hour has become a karaoke show where a few undisputed facts are presented and then a couple of people on either side of the debate are asked a few harmless questions, the replies to which are never challenged.

Not only are there rarely just two sides to any argument -" there are usually many, and occasionally there is only one. You can almost imagine a Holocaust survivor being interviewed by Jim Lehrer who then says "now we will turn to Herr Hitler to hear his side of the story'. The American public deserves better than this.

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Ted Newcomen is a citizen-journalist - someone who is tired of the lazy 'lamestream' media circus which is obsessed with the cult of celebrity and just recycles press releases for the establishment.
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