Posted by: wordofexcellence | July 24, 2011

How’s the Media Doing These Days?

Whilst thumbing through Time Magazine, at the local library, where the Muse often dwells, I found myself shaking my head (again). I am somewhat aghast at what I read. Mind you, though attentive, I find myself not reading as I truly ought.

When I espy drivel the likes of which is unpalatable, I find it no surprise any longer that my reading of current “journalistic” scribes is as minimal as it is.

The first encounter with the media that set me to scratching my head was a column in USA Today.  Now it so happens that I am a regular reader of The Hartford Courant and USA Today, and I will occasionally peruse the latest copy of some of the news magazines as well if I get the opportunity.

So, as I began to note, I came upon a column, written by a law professor at George Washington University (Jonathan Turley) that appeared in USA Today. It was at the tail end of the trial of Casey Anthony, recently found not guilty in the death of her young daughter.

Turley described CBS anchorperson Julie Chen, who “broke into tears reading the verdict” in the case; and he also described “the one predictable moment,” of Nancy Grace, representing cable network HLN, who warned viewers “somewhere out there, the devil is dancing.”

He described Grace as a Georgia prosecutor who had been “accused of repeated unethical acts.” Among them, as described by one court, “disregard of the notion of due process and fairness.”

I have to admit I was not among those who followed the trial, nor even the preliminaries, during which Anthony was apparently portrayed as some sort of monster, partying and lying to the police, while her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, was missing.

Of course, being vindicated by the press isn’t really news. There is abundant evidence almost daily of the nation’s commentators’ diatribes concerning those they’ve already convicted of whatever the crime might have been.

So, now Anthony’s been released from prison, and the show must go on, of course.  “Where will she go?”  “What will she wear to disguise herself?” “What about the threats against her?”

ENOUGH already!

So much for the newspapers; on to Time once again. I spy a quote from political commentator Ann Coulter, whose sharp tongue has been a source of irritation to me in the past. She noted that the late Princess Diana would have turned 50 years of age on July 1 by proclaiming “I find it a little baffling when Americans get so gaga-eyed over a princess. In particular, Lady Di, who was just this anorexic, bulimic narcissist.”

My response to that tasteless commentary is to wonder “what about Sarah Palin???”  Haven’t we seen enough “gaga-eyed” reaction to that dithering short-term one-time governor of Alaska?

Of course, I don’t disagree with the overall premise – Americans get enthused about almost anything…look at O.J. Simpson, the Anthony case; and on the reverse side, look at the ludicrous nonsense about President Obama’s birth certificate.

Adam Cohen, a lawyer who teaches at Yale Law School, and a former member of the New York Times editorial board, wrote the following about Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the accused rapist: “his arrest was followed by a “perp walk,” in which he was paraded in handcuffs, before a swarm of photographers – an American tradition that hardly seems presumptive of innocence.”

The longest sea bridge in the world opened in China on June 30.  The Jiao Zhou Bay Bridge spans 26.4 miles, which is 2.5 miles longer than the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in Louisiana, which was the former longest span.  The reference in Time tells us that it is “another Chinese nose thumbing.”

Are we that insecure?  Is it our national habit now to feel slighted at all that takes place overseas?  For some reason, I don’t think Europeans and Asians get particularly bent out of shape when they learn that we’ve built the biggest something or other, overtaking their old world record.

I am not an aficionado of televised news.  I am firmly of the belief that most of what passes for news these days is driven by the obsession with advertising dollars, to wit: look what happens when “Storm Adelia” or “Hurricane Zelda” is in the making, be it a hurricane wannabe or a snowstorm wannabe.  The local news shows begin working us up into a frenzy at least 24 hours earlier with what might end up being the storm of the millennium.

But wait!  What happens when they pull out all the stops?  People flock to the remote control and, eyes glued to the set, watch the over-the-top coverage of said storm, pausing every few minutes to see all the commercials that bring this lovely “news” into our homes.

Advertising dollars are collected based on ratings, and guess whose ratings escalate when “the storm of the century” – more appropriately, the storm of the moment – happens upon us.

Scaring the public into hibernating because a few drops of rain or a few flakes of snow are enroute creates a frenzy which puts money in the pockets of the conglomerates that operate the local TV stations.

My wife pooh-poohs my argument all the time, but I think she’s just obsessed with news watching.  That’s another topic for another day, and this diatribe is now officially toast.

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Responses

  1. When Walter Cronkite was on the news it was actual unbiased news. Now it’s more celebrity news than real news. I’m also sick of the media circus and the political bias of certain TV networks. I think the internet brought all this about and there’s no turning back.


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