Monday, January 17, 2011

Media Hype

The days of journalistic integrity and impartiality are LONG gone.  I suppose it was inevitable.  Somewhere along the line it was bound to be discovered that opinions get ratings...facts mostly get yawns.  And the more opinionated one is, the more ratings are generated.  Why?  Because two kinds of people listen to an opinionated person.  His fans and his enemies.  It seems both camps cannot get enough.  Its exactly the phenomenon that allowed the Howard Stern's and Rush Limbaugh's of this world to catapult to the top of their markets.  We have entire news networks dedicated to reporting our daily events with their own opinionated "spin".  Ask anyone and they'll tell you CNN is left leaning and Fox news is right. 

You would think that this climate would at least generate some truth, some of the time.  Or at least allow you to decipher fact from opinion.  Yet it seems the most common result is the continuing polarization of our citizens against one another.  Whether its politics, religion, or your local sports are never without others who share and OPPOSE your point of view.  So we cheer our team and boo our enemy.  We march for our rights and protest our neighbor.  We say "hook'em horns"...wait...I got sidetracked there!

Perhaps I am expecting too much when I think the weather report should at least be accurate and "spin-free"!  Yet more often than not, especially in the Dallas area, weather is forecast incorrectly OR the CURRENT CONDITIONS are severely exaggerated!  Forecasting error, I can forgive...although its very annoying how often this happens given our technological advances.  But when you cannot truthfully report the current condition of things, I have a BIG problem.  How difficult is it to look at your surroundings and then tell others what you see?

Sunday, January 9th we had three to four inches of snow fall.  It was enough that me and the kids built a snowman (more about that in the next post).  Had I believed ANY of the morning news on January 10th, I might have stayed at home and not dared to traverse to work.  But alas, I have lived here long enough to know that our local media reports that which gets a reaction, not what is actually happening.  So I filmed a minute or so of my commute just to prove a point.  Enjoy!

*** The radio voice is just a humorous re-enactment of the types of things that were being said that morning on the tv news. ***


Rachael said...

Very good Especially got a great laugh out of your video! How true it is.....

Melissa said...

You should have seen how empty the grocery shelves were last week when the "arctic blast" forced temperatures to near freezing here in Austin. That's right, near, only got there for maybe a few hours. Forget that the ground was still warm from the weeks of 70+ degree weather. People were stocking up as if they were going to get to stay home all week. Would have been nice had it been anywhere near possible.

Brent said...

I tried to post another one and something went wrong. I'll try again but I'm going to shorten it because I'm tired of typing.

Anyway, I'm not sure journalists and journalism have ever been unbiased or ever had full integrity.

For example, the White House press corps' treatment of JFK regarding Marilyn Monroe or the 30's sports reporters regarding Babe Ruth's affection for, ahem, beer. Today's politicians or ballplayers would never get swept under the rug (a form of bias and/or lax integrity) as in the old days.

There's always been a bias in media, even weather (think about a weatherman before an ice storm telling everyone to get bread & milk--followed 3 minutes later by a paid ad for Tom Thumb)--the people who pay our advertising bias.

Or the bias to get the story first without checking facts. Or the don't offend the conglomerate that owns us bias (think Belo). Or the big story we won't cover because it costs too much to send reporters bias. Or the most important one (that influences all the rest): The gotta make money bias.

The liberal/conservative bents are the least of our bias worries, IMHO.

TheEdge said...

All good points Brent. History books aren't even immune from the author's bias and perhaps its an impossible or unreasonable expectation to place on those tasked with gathering such data for us. However. My gripe still stands when DFW news coverage makes it seem like we should stockpile food rations everytime a snowflake lands in our yard. ;)