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Lately, it seems a lot of websites have been coming under heavy crossfire about corruption in their operations – sites like Helium.com, for example, or the recent explosion in Digg.com’s flip-flopping, no-nonsense, free-speech antics, and yet at each interval, we have to ask ourselves – are situations like this becoming the new norm for corporate journalism?
As the saying goes, “one bad apple spoils the bunch”, and even AC has found itself under crosshairs with the recent developments regarding a certain ham sandwich, but through all of the events that happen, speculation arises. Is “cheating the system” the new way to operate under freelance writing?
Whatever happened to friendly, no-holds-barred competition between your rival writers? Gone are the days where you had to sit in a ventilation shaft, peeking through the openings in the grates to spy on your fellow peers and get the scoop on all their writings, only to rush back home to the privacy of your laptop and whip up a story to cut them out of the story. Gone are the days where paychecks were based on the blood, sweat, and tears shed during the editorial process. Nowadays, paychecks come by – dare I say it – how many scams you’ve pulled off in the scope of an afternoon.
Even AC suffers from the plight of people who hide behind the curtains, pressing their mouse buttons on those gold stars to tactfully remove certain articles from the light that shines on them – like a virus, spreading through the articles in the spotlights, they spread from article to article, corrupting the innocent and removing the chances for some people to get their just praise. (And that’s not even considering the reward cookies lost in such affairs.)
Wartime is especially tough on journalistic reputation. Reporters about the war in Iraq change their opinion on a daily basis, rallying in relative agreement only when throwing insults at President Bush and his latest mistake, jumping on each opportunity to blame someone else like a pack of jackals who haven’t gotten enough from the scraps that corporate officials throw at them.
And even worse, the way journalists act now only serves to create an impression on our future journalists – which, I can only assume, means that our future rests on the shoulders of children who look at us for advice.
“Mommy, why is daddy still over in Iraq?”, a son will ask – but what can you tell him, except to look down into his eyes and lie to him? You can’t tell him the truth, as telling a child that his dad won’t be coming home because he got killed fighting a cause that can only be considered, dare I say, “hopeless from the start”. All you can do is smile, ruffle his hair, and tell him to go watch TV, and that daddy will be home soon.
And yet, what will the kid learn by watching TV? Look at the presidential debate – the entirety of the debate was spent fighting over who was going to fix the war in Iraq the fastest. Look at all the censorship on TV nowadays in regard to the news, and all the slacking restraints on the rest of the entertainment industry. I can’t even remember the last time I’ve seen a PG movie that didn’t swear at least three times and show two preteens in clothes I can’t even get my girlfriend to wear on anything close to a regular basis. Journalism hits an all-time low, as the content that needs to be out there is censored, and the content that actually hits markets contains nothing more than advertising fluff and lies so thick you couldn’t cut them with a chainsaw, let alone try and shove them into your ears to get them to your brain.
What impression does that make on our youth – our future journalists, at that?
Welcome to modern society – a world where children are taught to look out only for themselves, and to h-e-double-hockey-sticks with everyone else.