Friday, January 14, 2011

When Real News Happens, BS Dominates

I really hate the modern news broadcasting agencies now days. My hatred goes from the local news all the way up to the national news. They just don't know what they're doing anymore.

Prime example: The Arizona shooting. That's major new right now! On the particular day that inspired this post, the gunman had his first court appearance, police found a note he had written in a safe, President Obama had a moment of silence for the victims, and  Gabrielle Giffords was claimed to be stable but still in intensive care. It was not a slow news day. 

However, the day before, it snowed in Memphis (near where I live). Evidently, this "Snowpocalypse" was more news worthy than the shooting of a congresswoman. Now, I can understand if it was an obscene amount of snow. I can even understand if several neighborhoods had no power and people were freezing their butts off. But no, none of that happened. Just the normal reports of drivers who can't drive, people saying how good it was not to have to go to work or school, and the usual complainers who hate the snow that the news puts in there to seem "balanced." One news source even went so far as to devote an entirely too long segment to how little kids were having fun in the snow. Stock footage of little kids sledding, snowball fights, and little kids saying how great the snow was and how they were so glad that school was cancelled. And to clear things up, this wasn't the morning news or the afternoon news. This was the 5 o'clock news. The one where all the working stiffs come home and get caught up on the happenings of the day. Snow just isn't that important in the overall scheme of things.

And the national news isn't exempt from this either. I had it on CNN Headline news over the weekend just to have something to listen to while I was cleaning. It repeats the same 10 or 12 stories every half hour, retiring a few stories and adding in a few more to keep it "fresh." And the one story that kept coming up over and over and over, past all the refresh cycles of the day from 10 until at lest 2:30: a dog that was owned by a roofer who climbed a ladder to be with his owner. What. The. Heck. Can someone explain to me why this is news worthy? I mean, I can understand a slow news day. Some days not a lot of stuff happens. But since when is this news? Ever? Go to YouTube right now. Do a search for "dog climbs ladder." In fact, I'll even do it for you. The first thing you'll notice is that there are several videos of it. This is not unique. The second thing you'll notice is that the story used in the article on CNN happened AT LEAST A YEAR AGO!!! News should be stuff that happens recently, not stuff that happened so long ago that no one remembers it, making it ok to re-use to kill air time. 

And of course, there's the one thing that ticks me off so bad that I can't see straight. Every local news agency is guilty of it. It happens every summer at least once. And always during the premier of the new episode you wanted to watch, or during a live broadcasting that they will never show again, or at the climax of the show you've been wanting to watch for so long but never really have had the time to sit down and watch until now.

The weatherman. To tell you it's raining.

Evey summer, it thunderstorms. Every summer, it gets bad. Yes, there is a possibility for tornadoes or hail or both. And yes, it is the weatherman's job to inform his viewer ship of the occurrences of the weather in the viewing area. HOWEVER, if nothing is happening but hard rain with some thunder and lightning, why bother interrupting in the middle of a show to say that nothing is happening but hard rain with some thunder and lightning? Interrupt during a commercial break, or only when necessary. If a tornado is about to touch down, please tell me. But if you are explaining what to do if a tornado hits your house FOR THE FIFTH TIME IN TEN MINUTES, go away! I just want to wait out the storm and see who gets voted out of Survivor this week!

There is only one real outlet to get good news now days, and that's from independent news sources. But their so hard to find, and even then they all seem to have some kind of agenda going on (like Fox News and CNN, the Communist News Network), so you have to read several of them to make a decision yourself about what's going on.

Thankfully, there's Reddit (who is not paying me for this, but if they would like to give me money I will take it. I'm not THAT proud as to tun down college tuition money). For those of you who don't know how it works, it's simple enough understand. People find interesting articles and links, they submit it to the Reddit collective, and they vote it up or down depending on its merits. The result is several articles that pertain to major events (or at least worthwhile things) so you get quality news. Yes, the democratic system can be abused, but generally it gets into more detail than the normal press does on certain subjects. Wil Wheaton and Dante Shepherd both turned me onto it, and I have since been using it to my advantage.

I'm really upset with the news media. It has gotten absolutely ridiculous. If the outlets don't have an agenda, they're being annoying, misinformed, or jumping on one bandwagon or another. Other than submitting yourself to the internet collective, I see no way that news media can ever rebound.


Anonymous said...

Man... I hate it when they interrupt during a show I'm watching just to say it's still raining... You think there's a better way. Maybe a warning saying it's raining on the bottom of the screen?

Teresauras said...

Of course. It's been happening for a while, I wonder how long exactly. One of my sources is CUREENT_TV. At least they are entertaining as they do so. :)