To the Media, Inauguration Day is Just Another Day to Stir Up Dissention
Inauguration Day is perhaps the most significant day in the idea that represents the United States of America. The effecting of a peaceful transfer of power is simply unprecedented across the broad spectrum of human history.
From the ceremonial proceedings to the fanfare, from the interviews to the speeches, there is much to cover during this momentous event. Naturally, all of the major networks dispatched their reporters to our nation’s capital in an attempt to replicate the fervor, excitement, and trepidation of the crowd for the benefit of their respective viewing audiences.
Seemingly ignorant to the significance of the event, one such reporter spent part of his morning exercising a rather curious display of judgment. Representing FOX News, this correspondent waded through a sea of humanity to provide his audience with an exclusive interview of a boy appearing to be eleven years old. The reporter spotted the boy standing next to a fire, tossing a paper upon its active flame. The following exchange ensues:
Reporter: “This fire was started…in fact, this young man…you were participating in the fire; what is your name?”
Kid: “My name’s Connor and actually I kind of started this fire.”
Reporter: “Why’d you start that fire, Carter?”
Kid: “Uh…it’s Connor.”
Reporter: “Sorry, why’d you start that fire?”
Kid: “Cause I felt like it, and because I’m just, uh…saying ‘Screw Our President!’”
The boy cockily utters this final line with a smirk while puffing his chest.
There is much significance in this brief exchange.
Providing this content was the result of a conscious decision. On the one hand, the reporter could invest his time to broadcast the mood of the general electorate on the most significant day of the republic. On the other, he could redirect costly company resources to have them function as a national platform for an insolent child.
According to Nielsen research, the average cost for a 30-second advertisement during prime-time television costs $112,000. These resources are indeed costly.
As we now know from the transcript of the interview, the reporter elected to convert the resources of FOX News into a national platform for a petulant child. Could there possibly be a better means of tainting Inauguration Day? What a colossal missed opportunity with respect to providing a basic lesson in civics!
Mind you a child cannot vote according to our existing legal framework. Thus, broadcasting this boy’s opinion to the general public literally provides viewers with completely worthless insight. The most unfortunate aspect of this poor display of judgment lies in the opportunity cost. By soliciting this interview, the reporter and his cameraman bypassed countless men and women of voting age who could have served as the “thoughts of the average American” on this historic date. On the video, they literally appear to sift through hundreds of voting age Americans before speaking with the child.
This whole exchange is so particularly confusing when we try to evaluate it using the lens of traditional American values. Once we replace this lens with the core values of the media, however, everything suddenly comes into striking focus.
Sensationalism and shock are two of the most sacred values of the American media. Take a moment to re-evaluate the circumstances using these superimposed values as the prism through which you must make a decision as a news correspondent.
On the one hand, you can invest your time to broadcast the mood of the general electorate on the most significant day of the republic. On the other, you can redirect costly company resources to have them function as a national platform for an insolent child.
Which of these decisions produces the most sensationalism and shock?
Using this new lens, we can see clearly how the FOX News reporter absolutely made the correct decision. Interviewing a random participant does painfully little to stir water-cooler dialogue.
As Americans, we need to wake up to an industry that holds values that are completely antithetical to the advancement of a civil society. The societal takeaways from just this one instance include an emboldening of juvenile insolence, a devaluation of the miracle that is the American republic, and an advancement of empty intellectual calories throughout the culture.
FOX News is supposedly the solution to the problem that is the news media. If this is the claim, I’d certainly like to see better supporting evidence.