Television News Isn’t Journalism

TV News isn’t journalism, so we need to stop pretending it is. At best, it is entertainment, and at worst it is propaganda. Either way, there is nothing wrong with questioning everything you see or read or hear. People that earn paychecks from news organizations sanctimoniously preach about journalists that died “in the line of duty” and public trust and expect that places them above criticism.

In 2007, Indianapolis had a mayoral race where the Democrat was the likely winner with millions in the bank. The Republican was an unknown with less than $100,000 in the bank the August before the election. The Mayor was going for a third term and was the favorite. He gave a controversial budget address, and his challenger offered a rebuttal in the public section.

That night, I was chatting up a cute reporter (no doubt hired for her journalistic skills) from the local Fox tv affiliate on the way out of the address. I asked if they’d use the challenger’s address. She then uttered a phrase that dropped the scales from my eyes when it came to American television news.

“Nothing. My editors said that since he isn’t buying ad time, we don’t want to give him free advertising.”

Chris Spangle is the publisher and editor of We Are Libertarians, a news site and podcast that covers national and Indiana politics from the libertarian perspective. Spangle previously worked in marketing for the Englehart Group on behalf of the Advocates for Self-Government. He also served as the Executive Director of the Libertarian Party of Indiana and producer of the Abdul in the Morning Show. He now works as the web director of a nationally syndicated morning show.