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News Networks Stay On Media Gala Instead Of Covering Unrest In Baltimore

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The annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner is always an obnoxious event that provides further visual evidence of an out of touch and aloof mainstream media compromising its integrity for access to power, but this year was particularly gross. While so-called journalists were toasting champagne and laughing at inside Beltway jokes a unrest raged in Baltimore over the killing of 25 year-old Freddie Gray who died in police custody. The police responded to the unrest, in part, by locking in 40,000 people watching a baseball game at Camden Yards.

The news networks decided to stay on the dinner and left it to social media to report on the news. One of CNN’s talking heads apparently even suggested it was acceptable to not cover the Freddie Gray protests as the public could learn about the event on Twitter. Instead the “news” network would cover a self-congratulatory dinner for people who spend their days rewriting government press releases and endlessly searching for any information fragment about a missing plane.

The failure of the mainstream media to comprehend what is and is not news was so epic and breathtaking that some are wondering aloud whether Saturday’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner actually marked the end of The News?

To call what happened on Saturday night a slow-motion train wreck would be to attribute too much momentum to the thing — it was more like a guy slowly walking 500 paces into a brick wall and breaking his nose. It was clear that TV planning for the big event, the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, featuring President Obama, had been in the work for months. Once upon a time, this WHCA dinner (which annually also stars a comedian; last night it was Cecily Strong of SNL) was an okay idea — schlubby journalists and the officials they cover getting dressed up for one night, drinking a lot of wine, sharing some bawdy jokes and raising a few dollars for scholarships…

CNN and their rival networks have been known to cut away from regular programming to show planes with stuck landing gear circling a runway, or random police chases of random suspects in a random city. But now a city telling 40,000 people not to leave a baseball game because of social unrest, albeit briefly, wasn’t news? Are you kidding me? More important was the broader stakes, that the citizens of a great American city, stripped of its factories and caught between high crime and appalling levels of police brutality, were trying to make a statement, that their lives mattered. But to the Beltway revelers…they just didn’t.

Do we really need the mainstream media anyway? It has long been argued that it does more harm than good, but it increasingly seems like it does no good at all.

Perhaps it would be better to let the media conglomerates out of their agreements to provide news programming, then at least people will not be under the false impression that they have been informed about the most important stories of a given day. People might learn there is not any real information in infotainment and understand that if they want to be informed they are going to have to do some thinking and researching for themselves.

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Dan Wright

Dan Wright

Daniel Wright is a longtime blogger and currently writes for Shadowproof. He lives in New Jersey, by choice.