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Eight Media Predictions for 2010

December 31, 2009

A generally hate these kinds of columns and I am not into making predictions, but considering how the news media functions on key issues of the day it seems like the following comments are less about predictions and more about critical thinking.

  1. Michigan’s Gubernatorial Race will be painful to watch I. None of the candidates for the two major parties seem to have any clue or creativity in how to deal with the current economic woes that confront this state. The best that Democratic candidate John Cherry can come up with is to say he will add a tax to bottled water sold in Michigan to raise money for public education. Great, lets encourage more bottled water consumption and all the negative consequences that come with that.
  2. Michigan’s Gubernatorial Race will be painful to watch II. The public will be inundated by paid political ads with lots of mud slinging. This means the polis will get little information, lots of propaganda and the radio & TV broadcaster will make tons of money to air political trash talk.
  3. Green Capitalism will continue to be celebrated. Beware of any media coverage that doesn’t question the claims of entities that say they are GREEN – businesses, governments, and even NGOs. Why does the for-profit media not question when corporations say they are sustainable, governments elevate LEED certified buildings and NGOs who say they are saving the environment one foundation grant at a time?
  4. Michigan’s Economy will improve for some and screw the rest. The local news media will continue to defer to Upjohn Institute Economist George Erickcek and Right Place President Birgit Klohs on matters of the economy and employment in West Michigan while thousands of working class people will lose jobs, lose benefits and have their wages stagnate or decline. We should stop believing people who don’t really do work.
  5. Celebrity Journalism will continue to dominate news coverage. In the past year we had plenty of coverage about Michael Jackson’s death, Michael Phelps pot smoking, Taylor Lautner’s connection to West Michigan and the Tiger Woods infidelity deception. This kind of “reporting” will continue, just change the names of the plastic, product pimping celebs.
  6. The Afghan War will continue to be reported from the perspective of the Pentagon. As the US occupation continues to escalate while public support in America declines. More unmanned drones will bomb Afghan civilians and private military contractors will exceed 100,000. We are not likely to hear about all of this, because a Nobel Peace Prize inhabits the White House and news media still believes the US is bringing peace and democracy to the rest of the world.
  7.  Institutional Racism and White Supremacy will not be a story. I know we live in a post-racial America since a Black man sits in the White House, but hate crimes and institutional racism are alive and well. The far right radio pundits will claim that Obama hates White people, but the fact remains that racial minorities in the US will continue to be disproportionately imprisoned, unemployed, and live in substandard housing. Anti-immigrant groups, the Klan and other White Supremacist groups are very active in Michigan, but the news media refuses to acknowledge them.
  8. ArtPrize II will be bigger and better than ArtPrize I. The West Michigan media will be fighting to out report each other on the well crafted and manufactured event called ArtPrize. Critical voices will continue to be pushed out, as will the economically undesirable who live near downtown. Lots of money will flow to downtown businesses and Rick DeVos, Kurt Kimball and the rest of the ArtPrize intelligentsia will be given a free pass by the news media because they just want to sell papers or get those juicy ratings.

I wish I could say that I hope these things will not come to pass in 2010, but I don’t believe in hope, and more importantly these things will come to pass because this is how the for-profit news media functions. To expect them to change is like expecting Wal-Mart to be environmentally friendly.

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