Everybody remembers the moment they first saw footage of the burning Twin Towers toppling down on September 11th, 2001. Everybody remembers the panic that ensued, the news tickers running constantly on all the major television stations giving updates on nothing in particular, the finger-pointing and pundit pontificating, the pictures of grief-stricken families holding up pictures of missing loved ones in vain, the re-viewing of the burning Twin Towers toppling down, maybe from a slightly different angle or in a more exaggerated slow-motion. Everybody remembers how Osama bin Laden, a footnote in the American collective consciousness for masterminding multiple embassy bombings in 1998 and the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in 2000, and his Al-Qaeda terrorist organization claimed responsibility for the attacks on 9/11, igniting U.S. military action in Afghanistan, where bin Laden was hiding out in exile under the protection of the corrupt Taliban regime. But what most people don't recall is the media coverage of bin Laden's intentions, or his reasoning for these various terrorist assaults. After 9/11, America became a nation obsessed with asking the wrong questions, and the media was more than willing to answer those wrong questions with the gusto reserved for important information.
[...] the United States of America use rhetoric generally reserved for Jerry Bruckheimer flicks, like have to counter the shockwave of the evildoer” and other gems, to vaguely outline WHAT we were going to do as a reaction, rather than explain to us WHY an organization with operatives in at least twenty different countries was constantly making plans to kill all Americans, in addition to as many of our allies they could take out as well. Eventually, the media started telling us that we could get on with our lives—that we hadn't actually stopped living didn't really seem to phase any suits that couldn't wait for America to care about the sort of mind- numbing cultural garbage they had to hold out on throwing out to us for a few weeks. [...]
[...] These methods of critique serve a crucial role in the realm of media gatekeeping—if Real News programming, their advertisers, the politicians with ties to their advertisers, and the like are all different media gatekeepers, then Fake News is the rascal with a lock pick letting people through while the people in charge aren't looking. Fake News is a direct challenge to media gatekeeping; Daily Show” and The Onion both know that the metaphorical door is shut and seek to enlighten people to this fact before they even care about the door to begin with, to paraphrase Neil Postman's paraphrasing of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World in Amusing Ourselves to Death. [...]
[...] When Real News stations began using a that scrolled “updates” for the viewer, which were generally non-information that would barely be considered a headline in a newspaper, Daily Show” responded with their own version of the ticker, complete with phrases like Percent of Americans ‘Want Mommy'” and God Oh God Oh to humorously jab at the persistence of Real News' tickers and their insignificance to the viewer despite seeming like the actual passage of knowledge. As Neil Postman states in Amusing Ourselves to Death, is quite obvious that TV news has no intention of suggesting that any story has any implications, for that would require viewers to continue to think about it when it is done” (103). [...]
[...] A transcript of that evening's program on the fan website anitasdailyshowpage.tripod.com shows Jon Stewart delivery of a heartfelt opening monologue, which famously opened with the contention that there was other way to open the show” than to ask the question, you This kind of openly emotional address to the audience would be unacceptable in a Real News program, despite the fact that the larger issues at hand can be traced specifically to a very emotional and personal level. To understand the causes of terrorism, an emotional appeal needs to be made, because it implies understanding the psyche of the terrorist himself. [...]
[...] The most outstanding and lasting work that Fake News can do, therefore, is to make people question the authenticity and significance of the Real News, so that eventually we may take in information rather than headlines, and discuss issues rather than events. Ultimately, the issue of media coverage of understanding terrorism comes down to one thing: they don't do it. While it is not the job of Fake News to correct this, because they operate under the umbrella of entertainment, they can criticize Real News and expose the fact that issues involved in understanding terrorism are not being addressed in any medium where they should be. [...]
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