As a former journalist, I feel compelled to weigh in on the transformation in entertainment and media that I’ve seen over the past 30 years. Television has worsened, and there are reasons why I do not even watch it at home.
The devolution of journalism is a condition of bourgeois misperceptions of reality, which is why I have added this post to the “Loss of Reality” series. Journalists have become commodified in bourgeois culture to the point of self-appointed celebrity, which goes against the original purpose of the profession. Journalists (ostentatious and self-aggrandizing authors also included) are supposed to convey information. There is no inherent need outside of capital interest to provide entertainment, when a journalist’s sole purpose is to convey information. A journalist is a medium of communication for sharing information from around the world. There is no need for self-validation either by providing sources as proof of commodity. It is also a betrayal to the profession to promote one’s own books or other involved projects not directly sourced for the news at hand.
Not only do bourgeois misperceptions of reality create these journalist commodities, but they also tend to govern what they produce for the sake of consolidating capital gain. The news is information, and the widest dissemination should be given to issues that most affect public interest. There is no place for celebrity news and gossip in the news when people are suffering from unresolved issues each and every day. For those in the know, take a look around at all of the undiscussed issues that affect you or the world around you, and you will find a monstrous information gap and disconnect the from actual conditions of reality. This is caused by a valuation of product consumption rather than a prioritization based upon universality. It also contributes to why local news outlets report murder and rape disproportionately with their local occurrences that affect the population.
To the attentive reader, the transformation of news media should be a warning sign that commercialization of industry is a premise to the degradation of society. Nothing is pure, nothing is safe when capital gain and exploitation govern our culture and worsen the economic conditions for the rest of the world. Capitalism is the source of these problems and the cause of the gradual destruction of our originally moralistic society. When higher television ratings (as indicators of capital gain) become more important than information to ease the suffering of individuals throughout the world, society must be very troubled. These conditions are overlooked by the bourgeois hands that shape our culture because of the bourgeoisie’s distorted view of reality. To them, culture a means of whitewashing human conditions of reality, which is why they permeate the discussion of topics of unimportance.
I will grant the bourgeoisie that increased media exposure due to technological advances does dilute the quality of it, but only because it has already been severely limited in scope by bourgeois pursuits of capital gain. They have also contributed to the imbalance of stories dedicated to celebrity or ‘human interest’, which were once valid forms of a feature article. Now, news media outlets focus on the commodification of the individual due to the bourgeois culture shift over the past centuries. This bourgeois understanding of culture creates economic pursuits of capital through the analysis of perceived audience demographics, which then governs news media production. Coupled with the transformation of journalists into commodities, news media subsequently becomes celebrity-based and personality-driven in order to appeal to bourgeois misperceptions of reality through promotion of the individual.
It has not been mentioned yet that the erosion of journalistic standards throughout the news business can also be attributed to competition for capital as characterized by early reporting on ‘breaking’ news. The capitalists seek to hoard any perceived source of wealth, and thus transform reporters into watch dogs of potential capital, minimizing them to stringers with little factual support or evidence in regards to breaking stories. This also minimizes even the associated journalists from being responsible for original research or fact-checking, so long as they support their company’s pursuit of capital gain. The back-page stories then become filled with celebrity updates or anything else promoting the commodification of the individual, making feature articles feel more like editorials. Finally, there is the relaxation of ethics, but that will not be discussed here due to lack of legitimate sources.
To conclude, bourgeois conditions of reality also cause the bourgeoisie to press an agenda through the abuse of news media. They help to saturate culture with the ideals of the bourgeoisie, ultimately seeking the recruitment of the petty-bourgeoisie as safeguards against the usurpation of the status quo. They utilize news media ‘white space’ to push editorials and feature articles that seek to perpetuate the false notions adhered to by the bourgeoisie and the petty-bourgeoisie. These stories are not event-driven, but serve rather as the imbuement of bourgeois culture. They cover primarily faux economic ideals and legal standards, and even go so far as to pretend an interest in reformist issues such as bourgeois political corruption or immorality in order to satiate the unknowing (reformist) proletariat. Finally, the bourgeois also perhaps unknowingly share their fear of change through a culture of media fearfulness.