Alabama Gazette - The people's voice of reason

The Demise of Journalism

 


What has happened to journalism over the past half century?

When your humble scribe first chose to be a news person there were iron clad rules to which persons practicing this craft had to abide.

Today, as one partakes of journalistic outpourings there seems to be virtually no rules scribes must follow; which is sad.

Virtually every standard a news writer had to follow has, by now, been scrapped.

Who is to blame? It's hard to point an accurate finger, unless one points an accusing finger at a lapse of adherance to the once iron rules as laid down in ancient Rome as a means to insure that messages were clear, complete, accurate, and honest.

They've been toyed with by experts in the realm of passing along to others events that have happened. But the ancient rules have endured: WHO did WHAT to whom. WHY did they do it, WHEN did it happen, WHERE did it occur; and HOW did it take place?

These rules were strict, and journalists who failed to abide by them found themselves in deep trouble—if they were allowed to keep their job. That is, until 20th Century journalism made the scene. Now, there seem to be no rules whatsoever as it relates to passing along to the masses information of presumed merit.

Other mandates under which a journalist toiled include: Attribution, which meant that someone must be identified as the source of the events.

A reporter never submitted copy attributed to “unnamed sources.” Attributing news to “persons who wished to remain anonymous,” and other similar evasions, would bring down the wrath of city editors in a second. Anonymity was just not accepted. This rule has been trampled into the dirt and is virtually non existant today. Today this evasion has now become a rule, and even the how and why are not considered to have any import.

On top of these transgressions, proper grammar, correct punctuation, consistent tense, and a host of other grammatical rules are now the exception, rather than the rule.

Probably the worst abuser of these mandates is television news, which seems to have no idea what any of these rules mean.

In the realm of journalism, we're now in about the same shape as Benjamin Harris was in 1690; when, without the blessings of the Crown, he published Publick Occurrrences Both Forreign and Domestick. It consisted of three pages of news, but lasted only one day, since it lacked the blessings of the Crown.

Where is the Crown today, when we need it?

One Nation; Divided

A little over a century ago the United States of America ceased to be united as 13 southern states seceded from the union, and America became embroiled in a civil war and more than 600,000 Americans unnecessarily forfeited their lives.

As we look at the mindless strutting and pouting that's going on today among our elected officials over the election of Donald Trump as our 45th president, the prospect of another Civil War looms ominously in the wings.

Much as the Southern States pouted over an end to slavery, a group of American politicians today are doing their best to rend our nation asunder because they lost the recent presidential election.

And, one must ask, to what avail?

The Confederates lost the Civil War, and it's highly likely that our most recent group of separatists will be unsuccessful in their mindless efforts to undue the efforts by a minority of the population who are unwilling to accept the will of a majority of American voters.

In the War of Northern Aggression, a small portion of the U.S. population was dissatisfied with a change in focus of the United States. As a result, they withdrew from the Union and started their own political structure; which resulted in what became known as the Civil War, and the decimation of their population of 256,000 citizens, plus a plethora of other unfortunate events. Also casualties of this move were more than 360,000 northerners who lost their lives.

Today, we have rioting in the streets, a move by a fair number of our citizens to boycott the inauguration, and a host of other hostile moves; childish acts of dissatisfaction with the results of the last presidential election.

If anything is called for in this age, it's adult behavior, and a coming together of the various factions to rebuild America—not tear it down.

Rather than making fools of themselves and displaying a national attitude of “my way or the highway,” loyal and patriotic Americans should be working for a return to where we started--as “One nation indivisible. . .”

What has happened to America?

Quo vadis Washington?

After watching some of the television coverage of our esteemed Congress one is reminded of the words uttered by Saint Peter as he was fleeing Rome to escape crucifixion. Along the way he crosses paths with the recently crucified Jesus, who has just risen from the grave followig his own experience on the cross.

Whereupon he asks Jesus where he is going: Quo vadis.

In answer to Peter's question Jesus replies: “I am going to Rome to be crucified again.”

Fast forward a few centuries and we find many Americans asking of their Congress, rhetorically, where they are going.

On our television screens we see and hear of the fiasco that is taking place in our nation's capitol, and we find ourselves wondering where our elected government entities are headed: Quo vadis?

In answer our lawmakers seem to be replying: “We have no idea, But we're sure making an unfavorable dust.”

In this case it's the American electorate who are being crucified.

 

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