Is television news reality a bitch… or it is just screwing everybody…?

Posted on 13 Ιουνίου , 2006


What I will try to describe in the following paragraphs is a consideration of the television journalism and news casting, which describe the nowadays TV regime. And I am starting from this word ‘regime’. As wikipedia explains:

A regime (occasionally spelled «régime», particularly in older texts) denotes any system of social control, or more specifically, a form of government, especially an authoritarian one, such as one closely associated with a specific individual (e.g., «the Saddam regime», the Clinton or Bush regime, «the Lukashenko regime», or «the Salazar regime»), or based on a particular ideology (eg. «a communist» regime», «a socialist regime», «a fascist regime», or «a military regime»).In theory, the term need not imply anything about the particular government to which it relates, and there are political scientists who use it as a neutral term. But the term is often used in a pejorative manner as a reference to governments believed to be repressive, undemocratic or illegitimate, such that in these contexts the word conveys a sense of moral disapproval or political opposition. For example, one is less likely to hear of a «democratic regime».Political scientist Fred Judson, defines a regime as the «relationship between the state, society, (the) market, and global insertion». 

On the other hand wikipedia defines journalism which is responsible for the news constitution as follows:

Journalism is a discipline of collecting, analyzing, verifying, and presenting information regarding current events, trends, issues and people. Those who practice journalism are known as journalists.News-oriented journalism is sometimes described as the «first rough draft of history» (attributed to Phil Graham), because journalists often record important events, producing news articles on short deadlines. While under pressure to be first with their stories, news media organizations usually edit and proofread their reports prior to publication, adhering to each organization’s standards of accuracy, quality and style. Many news organizations claim proud traditions of holding government officials and institutions accountable to the public, while media critics have raised questions about holding «the press» itself accountable. 

Now why did I referred to these terms and tried to define them from an objective perspective (wikipedia)? Well I feel that viewing a TV news bulleting in my country these definitions become blurring and scramble my mind in a way that I clearly see that the “officials” to be accountable are doing the job of the journalists, which means that they “collect, analyze, verify, and present information regarding current events, trends, issues and people” in order to avoid to be accountable when journalists from a podium in a studio or a live stream from the field exercise their “democratic regime” prerogatives to enhance their “relationship between the state, society, (the) market, and global insertion”.

The fourth estate, the traditional term to address press power, when we refer to its television form, has become the first where its members are not accountable for what they say, how they say it and what effects does this have to ”the state, the society, and the market”. Have you see them how they attack to anyone who disputes their authority in such a way that may be characterized as “repressive, undemocratic or illegitimate” targeting to enforce a “system of social control” consecrating their role as the “Robin Hoods” of social morality? The power of the mass passive “coach potato” televiewing offers to TV news a base to develop a particular ideology which eventually acts as the tool to establish a regime of free-floating viewers.  

Don’t take me wrong but this exactly the way I feel when I see TV news casts where the typical verification does not exist in the altar of getting the story first, with more blood, more sperm and more glamorous… Lots of talking heads in television windows shouting things that nobody can or afford to understand, verify, or validate and no one from an official position willing to back the ground…I can envision the discussion of an incompetent news director who shouts to its editors for more “first page” stories otherwise he will screw them with his lengthy qualifications… the result is what we see and we don’t want to see. What really happens is that the audience is exposed to those who really influence the incompetent news professionals. And usually those are the representatives of the parastate, a bunch of semi-legal varmints who survive in any kind of state change and dominate any kind of state, social or market balances.

It is an oxymoron but in Greece, and I presume in other countries too, the national television has achieved to be characterized from the audience as the most trustworthy as far as its news. The national television which is dominated by the officials of the traditional state authorities (those who have the power to create a regime or represent a regime) and they have achieved to turn the course of the news market in favor of them.   

Imagine Montesquieu to wake up as a coach potato viewer during the broadcast of news bulletin today… Montesquieu proposed the division of political power between an executive, a legislature, and a judiciary. Under this model, each branch has separate and independent powers and areas of responsibility; however, each branch is also able to place limits on the power exerted by the other branches. He would be shocked to death after 30 or 45 minutes of this uncontrollable power which derives its authority by itself and the magnetic waves that transmit it.  

Well since he was largely responsible for the popularization of the terms «feudalism» and «Byzantine Empire», I presume that he would also be very happy to find out that although his articulation of the theory of power may not be alive in the 21st century but his other two kids are here to rule the world through the TV context.

Posted in: Politicsonline