Thursday, April 15, 2010

Outspoken Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was caught on camera phone in a Dallas bar - obviously intoxicated because you don't go to bars to crochet - making disparaging remarks about former Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells and Florida quarterback Tim Tebow while heaping more undeserved praise upon his quarterback Tony Homo, I mean Romo.

Jones' inebriated extemporaneous rant has raised questions about the right to privacy by public figures and who exactly qualifies as "the media" in an era where blogs, iReports, and social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter have allowed anyone with a camera phone and an opinion to claim the once lauded title of journalist.

I do not consider myself to be a journalist. I did not major in the subject in college (but I could write for High Times) and I am not held to the same ethical standards regarding subject selection and the confidentiality of sources that my professional peers are. I'm just some mo mo with a few extra minutes at work or on the train with a tremendous desire to spread my ill conceived and highly vitriolic opinions to whatever captive audience with equally flexible morals has the attention span to read my tomes.

Is my work less credentialed than that of KC Johnson or Laura Washington? Obviously. Is my opinion less important than that of Keith Olbermann or Glenn Beck? Absolutely not! The vast majority of the men and women on television and radio aren't journalist. They do not deal solely in reporting objective facts (and if they say that they do, they're lying their $2,000 suits off). They, like I, are members of that collective cesspool known as the media - where opining replaces fact checking for the ultimate purpose of drawing an audience.

Don't get me wrong. There are still salt of the earth journalist out there but there aren't as many people reading their articles as there are folks logged on to right now or watching The Daily Show or Chelsea Lately (your choice of the two depends on how autistic you are. Don't judge me.)

With the 24 hour cable news cycle, there is an ever increasing need for fodder and theatrics (Which came first, the supply or the demand?). 20 years ago, Tiger Woods sleeping with everyone but Andy Dick or Jerry Jones' jabbering would never have seen the light of day. Now it is news, not because it is news worthy, but because it has to be news worthy to satisfy the public's insatiable fetish for ultra-reality television (I guess that's really real or literally real television).

With that increasing appetite comes the reality that there is no longer a such thing as a private life for celebrities. There is no such thing as a private life for any of us. No matter who you are or what walk of life you're in, no matter how bright or dim your star, you too can become a YouTube sensation as evidenced by the Australian man who is now famous beyond his wildest dreams, not for curing cancer or landing a plane safely on the Hudson River, but for barking like a dog.

This is the new world that we live in and it is poised to change the face of journalism, I think, for the better. It's okay to be nostalgic about the media of yester year but the waves of change are here. Either you ride that wave, moving and adapting, or you stand there like a deer in headlights and go the way of Walter Cronkite. In 20 years, all the Janes, Dicks, and Harrys who write blogs, tweet, and Facebook will be considered the mainstream media and those jerkfaces who create news for the sake of making news will be the outcasts. Oh wait, those jerkfaces are the Kardashians. Here's to the future of social media and here's to Jerry Jones for being the posterboy of 21st century jouralism this week.

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