Like many people, I was psyched when the latest season of House of Cards was released. What fresh hell would be unleashed by the power-hungry, morally bankrupt, yet oddly compelling Frank and Claire Underwood?
I popped some popcorn, made a tequila sunrise, and as I settled in to watch, I started to see real news people show up in this fictional show. I addressed this in a blog post last December (“Why The News Media Should Strive for the Pulitzer, not the Oscar!”), but it’s worth revisiting – especially since the inauguration of President Trump. The term “fake news” has been seared into the lexicon. Hostilities towards the press from the Trump administration are commonplace, with him questioning even the basic of truths.
So let’s take a step back.
Why do they need real reporters like Charlie Rose and Rachel Maddow to further the House of Cards story line? I noticed that they were using the fictional Washington Herald (which stopped printing in 1939), instead of the Washington Post? From an editorial standpoint, why could they insert a fake newspaper but use real reporters? Which reality are we to believe?
The news media is fighting for its life right now. President Trump’s Twitter account has become the “official” record (typos, covfefe’s and all) and traditional press briefings, when they happen, are becoming very adversarial. The last thing reputable reporters should be doing is taking time out of their busy schedules to try their hand at “acting.”
It may seem harsh, and you may think “I know what’s real and what’s not real” – but the more we see our news media as performers, the less we think of them as credible sources of information.
Let me know what you think. Do you agree or disagree?
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