Sunday, February 19, 2006

Media Reactions and Public Disconnections

JR posts this story at the News and Record(from David House) about the people who have adverse reactions to coverage of the VP's "accident", or other important stories they don't deem as news . John raises the same point on local hot button issues saying, "So much is viewed through the black-and-white prism of if-you're-not-with-us-you're-against-us."

I think he is right, much is viewed in black and white. I posted these thoughts in the comments to the article(which I am reposting here, because it started looking like one of my blog pieces and I wanted to elaborate more):

"I feel like the public just doesn't care as much. They want news, but they want it super-sized and fast. The death of a free media started with the birth of the soundbyte and the videoclip. Because of this, I feel like the erosion of interest in opinions has been weaned off the American public like painkillers, with the reverse effect of making us numb instead of informed. The less informed the public is, the less resistant we are to a government who caters to the rich and the corporations, not the average people."

"What the media in the US needs, is to reverse it's vasectomy and start reporting like a reporter should, with factual information, that gives the whole story and is non partisan in nature to let the people form their own opinions. This is why I enjoy blogs. They are partisan, but I read the right and the left. I can form my own opinion and click on links to actual documents to reinforce the article I read. With TV and newspapers, I don't know where the info comes from, might as well be thin air, especially when reporters won't reveal where they got important info to an important story. The system is broke, but not unfixable. We just need a willing presscore to get back to basics and tell us something we didn't read online 12 hours ago."

What I mean by a less informed public being less resistant is that if they government keeps the public in the dark they will never see the light. All kinds of legislation is passed all the time that effects all of us. Most of us never even know that the legislation is being discussed or voted on. The exception being high profile bills that need to garner public support. This occurs on a local and state level as well. Why do the papers not cover legislation in it's entirety, instead of only what has paper selling headlines? This would be a service to the community, which is what a paper is. This is just one suggestion.

I find it compelling that the public has allowed it's own disconnection. It has been a slow and steady hypnotic act by the mainstream media that has lulled America to sleep. Chanting "you are a Republican" or "you are a Democrat" depending on what paper you read. To me, it makes sense for the papers to be non-partisan, they would be able to attract both sides of the audience.

When I said the death of the media started with the soundbyte and the videoclip I am referring to the "CNNification" of America. Breaking News is now sometimes(I kid you not) ,we don't know anything more at this time on this event. People jump over tables like trained monkeys when that breaking news icon appears, and I don't get it. It is new news, but most times it isn't much, especially on a slow news day.

When VP Cheney shoots his friend in the face, IT IS NEWS. It doesn't matter what side of the political divide you are on, the people should know. Just as much as when he has chest pains. After all the man is second in line to the button. Here's a good question, what if his friend shot him in the face, would that be news? Again, I think yes. I don't think that the side of the public making a big deal out of this weeks coverage would oppose to coverage of that. What makes it so different? Who got shot? What if Whittigton died from the VP's gunshot wounds? It would have been negligent homicide, and a new VP. So could someone on the other side explain how this isn't news? I would sure like to know.

The Rhino printed the Danish cartoons, this past week(not online)(N&R coverage of the Rhino's complaints on the cartoons here), that stirred up the Muslim community. I don't read the Rhino, I think they are partisan trash. I do commend them for printing the cartoons, however. Why shouldn't the public see the drawing that was causing such a stir? The Danish cartoons should have been in every paper for all to see. If you think you would find it offensive, turn away. In the dark, the public gets the impression that all Muslims are insane and violent(by their reaction). Seeing the cartoons you can form your own opinion. People say it is "offensive to their prophet". I can understand that. What makes it any different from a President Bush anti-Arab speech? The fact that it's a picture. They are our enemies, the terrorist, the President drills us over and over(meaning the Arabs who aren't obedient to American policy). After 9/11, while I was residing in NJ, there was numerous attacks on NYC cab drivers because of their ethnic backgrounds. an Arab community in Patterson, NJ was basically under siege by other non-Arab residents, while the police did nothing. I hate the men who flew those planes as much as the next guy, but it wasn't the Arab world who collectively flew those planes into the Trade Center towers. It wasn't the cab drivers fault, but some paid a price. It wasn't the Arabs in Patterson, NJ.

I just think everyone is overly sensitive, like a toothache. If you don't like it, don't read it. If you think it is offensive, turn away. The US is one of the only free countries that doesn't have nudity on public TV. Are we so ashamed of our bodies? What is offensive about another nude human? Why do we shield ourselves from everything? If you tell someone they can't they will want to. That is why pornography is a multi-billion dollar industry, and I don't think that a few pervs could come up with the multi-billions by themselves. A dissenting view is healthy, it keeps the human race on their toes, thinking and intelligent. I swear that if we keep up this diaper wearing society, we will be surpassed by another lifeform on earth, like the monkeys or dolphins. That is how dumb we are allowing ourselves to become as a whole. We don't need any help from the media in the dumbing process, we need help getting us thinking again.

When I say that the system is broke, but not unfixable I mean it. Some papers, like the News and Record, are endorsing a new media like blogs and podcasts. Embracing new sources of news and opinions, who aren't professional journalist. I have always said that "Just because a doctor has a degree, he doesn't always have a cure, all he has is a piece of paper that says he might." It is the same with journos, they have a degree but unless they are fabricating the news, they can always reach out for other views or leads to what their readership thinks is news. Expanding coverage, that was thin at best to begin with, is a good start. These papers will survive if they stay the course, remove the political divide and embrace their readership as intelligent individuals that can form their own opinions. We beg you, give us something to read. Something more then partisan press releases, and propaganda opinions. Something with substance and flavor. Like "Field of Dreams", if you write it, they will read.
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