Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death is a book that criticizes the use of television and its negative effects on society. In his seventh chapter titled, "Now... This," Postman describes his belief that television led news stations to produce news for entertainment purposes rather than true news and information. He goes on to explain how anchors and reporters are chosen based on how "likable" and "credible" their faces look (p. 100). Unfortunately, this is a sad truth when choosing to use a screen as a medium for the message one desires to convey.
I agree that in today's culture, in order for viewers to tune in to sit through a news show, the anchors and reporters must demonstrate aesthetically pleasing features and appear to have the age and wisdom of credibility. In reality, this is only true because for some reason, humans naturally find the flaw or shortcomings in everything. A less attractive news anchor is less likely to catch the attention of viewers because of the viewers. If an anchor has bushy eyebrows or a chipped tooth, for some reason the viewers cannot get past the eyebrows and teeth which causes them to miss the content of the news completely.
In spite of these truths, it is my firm belief that the fourth estate, known better as the media, does still exist to inform, as a watchdog, and to give a voice to the voiceless. As discussed in previous blogs, the media still presents the public with pertinent information. In fact, today I found out that a friend of mine went missing yesterday. After looking into the news, it turned out that an unidentified pedestrian was hit by a car while crossing the street and taken to UF Health for life threatening injuries last night. The media revealed the story even though they had very little facts to go on. This helped a mother locate her missing son.
Another example is when legislation was drafted to change the name of Florida State College at Jacksonville, and other similar colleges. This news showed us what government officials thought of our school and we could then prove them wrong. Faculty and staff fought back, students spoke up, and members of the community voiced their opinions because of the media. Due to this, our college remains as Florida State College of Jacksonville.
I admit, it is evident that entertainment seems to flood the news more often than important information. Be that as it may, what floods one's personal newsfeed depends upon that person. Entertainment news is partially provided for the same reason that attractive anchors are hired -- consumer demand. If viewers expressed an issue with this choice of news, the media would remove entertainment entirely. Nevertheless, as my Media Criticism RTV4403 professor would put it, we mustn't throw the baby out with the bath water. The media remains as a watchdog for the people. It continues to provide us with information and we decide the outcome.