Is Mainstream Media Populated with Egomaniacs?

MSNBCI was watching Hardball yesterday on MSNBC when I saw something that reminded me of the kind of news commentary I loathe.

In the segment, Chris Matthews laid into former Rick Santorum aide Robert Traynham with gusto. I understand that Chris Matthews isn't a Santorum fan, but being incredibly rude to a former Santorum aide didn't prove his points --  it just made me not like Chris Matthews.

The truth is, I see this kind of thing happening more and more often -- Members of the media seem so intent on becoming newsmakers and public figures themselves that they've lost all sight of basic fairness and human decency.

But this Hardball segment has a twist that Matthews obviously wasn't expecting, and it's worth watching. Check it out after the jump ... then tell me in the comments what you think of political coverage these days, and how you'd like to see it change.

 

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Here's the video in question -- Matthews takes on Robert Traynham shortly after the 3:00 mark.

 

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This could have, and should have, been a fantastic conversation -- as a political watcher, I'm very interested in what an openly gay former aide has to say about how Rick Santorum treated him. Unfortunately, Matthews ruined it with his bad attitude.

Matthews may be one of the worst offenders in the rudeness department (the show is called Hardball, after all), but he's just one example of annoying media behavior. Equally bad are some of the women Fox has hired, whose sole purpose in being put on the air, I'm pretty sure, is to draw in viewers by looking like conservatively dressed, collagen-lipped porn stars. MSNBC has taken the whole anchors-are-the-real-news thing even farther by airing spots that give their talking heads 30 seconds to tell viewers how THEY believe they should feel about issues ranging from Social Security to the G.I. Bill.

Well, I don't care what they think personally, and I don't want to hear about it. It's sort of like when actors think that just because they're famous, that entitles them to tell us all how we should be improving the environment. Seriously, the latest Dancing with the Stars winner is not going to have any impact on whether I make the switch to compact fluorescent bulbs.

I want my news reporters and anchors to simply give me the news. I want them to treat all of their guests with fairness and respect, particularly when they're on the subject of politics. I realize that there's quite a bit of vicious fighting on the subject on the Internet -- that doesn't mean that the media have to stoop to that level.

In my role as your election correspondent, I decided when I took on this job that I wanted to do it a little differently. I'm trained as a journalist, and I know how to do my job. But I'm also a wife, mom, stepmom, and community member. It's tempting to take my cues on how to do my job from the network anchors and reporters who've risen to the top of their profession. But I've chosen instead to take my cues from the people around me, both in real life and online... because I'm not reporting for Chris Matthews. I'm reporting for you. And I think you deserve to have your issues addressed and your questions answered and your opinions heard by a person with whom you feel like you can relate, as opposed to an egomaniac. After all, there's no better place to try and tweak the "rules" of journalism than on the Internet!

I've thought a lot about this -- I can't help but think about it since I watch the news quite a bit -- and now I'd like to know what you think.

Are you frustrated with the direction news commentary and reporting is headed? Does it effect your level of trust in the media?

 

Screen grab via MSNBC

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