Yellow Fever Strikes Again!
By: Johnnie Wright Lewis, Guest Columnist
Yellow journalism was supposedly killed during William Randolph Hearst’s time. That sort of “reporting” is meant to get the reader to think like the publisher, not meant to tell the REAL facts of the issue.
The first newspaper people who showed up in the OLD WEST and stated the facts in black and white were oftentimes run out of town or their offices and equipment burned by the reigning bully of the area who wanted his “kingdom” (often cattle barons) to be allowed to increase their wealth without hindrance from the facts being spewed by some reporter. Eventually, the ways of the cattle barons were outlawed and reigned in, so that for about 80 years we had (more or less) fair journalism in this country.
Then the scandal sheets (trash papers like the National Enquirer) came out in the ‘60s, finding it easier to throw sensational “dirt” on someone (usually a famous actor/actress, etc.) than to go dig up the real story. And the thrown dirt was only designed to get a rise out of the famous person for one purpose — to sell papers (and who owned those papers? Hmmm…). The more sensational and salacious the story, the more papers sold, not because people wanted to find out the real truth, but because people wanted more entertainment…, entertainment provided by the gossip of hearing how “bad” the famous person was. Distracted them “from realizing lowly and bad their own lives were.” It wasn’t until Carol Burnett “bucked the system” by suing the Enquirer for making up a story about her that the “power of the press” was made to be more or less truthful in their stories.
Granted, some of those famous people didn’t NEED salacious stories made up and told about them, ‘cause everything they did was outrageous anyway. Liz Taylor stealing one husband after another comes to mind. She eventually became a fairly good person, but I will forever remember the Liz Taylor – Eddie Fisher affair/fiasco as the REASON why the trash magazines and the paparazzi became so popular. Work-a-day Joes were being spoon-fed the malarky of the wealthy, to keep them “from realizing how lowly and bad their own lives were.”
Now, we’re back to the point where 6 corporations own 95% of the news outlets (newspapers AND TV news) in this country. 6 corporations. So ALL newspapers must tell the news as their holding companies tell them to tell it, NOT as the news actually IS. Told as the owners want it told, emotionally and with sensational GUSTO to entice people to buy into the spiel they’re selling, so that we can no longer rely on “reputable” news outlets for our “news.” Because who tells the FACTS/TRUTH anymore?
When I was in Mrs. Dot Horne’s 2nd grade class at O’Neal Elementary School, we had two arithmetic books, the grey book and the red book. The grey book had nothing in it but number problems in numerals (1 + 1 = ___), the red book had nothing but WORD problems. In words. The grey book laid out the problems for us to write down and give the answers to, while from the red book, we had to decipher the answer based on what the words said to us. If the language in the word problem was stilted or poorly written or (God forbid) there was a typo in the verbiage, you might derive the wrong answer from the word problem. But there was little chance that you’d get the wrong answer from problems in the grey book, unless you just couldn’t add or subtract. I much preferred the grey book for homework. I knew where I stood. The facts were laid out and I almost never drew the wrong answer based on those facts. With the red book, there was always doubt as to the correct answer…, until Mrs. Horne TOLD us the answers.
Guess which book the news media are following when they feed us the pablum they want us to swallow, the red or the grey? Red. They don’t want us to know the truth until and unless they TELL us the truth, as they want it remembered. Yellow Journalism reigns again!