THE MEDIA’S COVERAGE OF THE ZIMMERMAN TRIAL AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR AMERICAN JOURNALISM

rz

By: Shahab MoghadamThere was a time not so long ago when the American news media held itself to certain standards of reporting from which it would never budge and which helped it establish great credibility with a public eager for authority it could trust. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, as the American public was betrayed time and time again by the federal government, the media establishment stood as a neutral broker, a trustworthy source of information at a time when the people could not even trust their elected officials.

However, starting with the onset of the 24-7 news station CNN in 1981 and continuing on with the onset of the Internet age, the mainstream media deviated to an unprecedented extent from its mandate to provide unbiased news to a public eager for information about the world beyond their doors, eventually becoming what the Walter Cronkites and Edward R. Murrows of the media establishment hoped it would never be, a center for opinion and gossip complete with drama and cloak-and-dagger boardroom maneuverings which would make many titans of high finance cringe.

This past week, the mainstream media has made its now-well-cemented status as an unreliable entity clear through its around-the-clock coverage and dramatization of the George Zimmerman trial, which I myself join many of my countrymen in feeling a sense of dread about yet which few appreciate the media dramatizing to the extent it has. What is even more tragic than the fact that the profession which once counted so many of our nation’s most trusted public figures among its practitioners has stooped so low is just how predictable this situation is, for it has occurred many times before and will surely occur many times in the future.

Although there is little the viewing public can do or, it seems, cares to do, to change the current mainstream media culture, the least that can be done is for the public to become aware of the flaws in the media sources it frequents and act accordingly, before it is too late.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *