Saturday, September 24, 2005

Just give me the news, damnit!

Back a few years ago I was coming back to the states from Germany and had to spend a year one night at Heathrow airport in London. Not only was it there that I acquired the taste for good English Bitter, I got hooked on their news.

"News readers" is what they call them. It's a pretty radical concept. You go on the TV, and read the news. No slants left or right, just tell me what the fuck happened. I really wish the TV news people would grasp that idea here. Even the damn Weather Channel is sucked into the sensationalism, first with Katrina, now with Rita.

Of course it's pretty bad. I do not need to see some dumbass standing on a beach in gale-force winds to tell me that.

"Now we go to Lake Charles to our reporter standing by live... John, what's it like there?"

Flash to the inset and see a blurred image of a person in a yellow rain slicker clinging on with one hand to a lightpost at a forty-five degree angle to the ground and a microphone in the other.

"Well, it's getting pretty dangerous here, as the winds have picked up to 75 MPH sustained and 100 MPH gusts. It's not safe out here and I'm strongly suggesting that those of you that haven't evacuated, leave now..."

Eh, no shit.

The only thing this is telling me is that you are a fucking idiot. Thousands of people have evacuated the area, and in search of ratings, you have decided to stay.

You need to have your head examined.

Next come the long line of alleged "experts"... Morons who couldn't tell a storm cell from a brain cell. This one that I saw in video clips during Katria kept on saying it was a "Tornado"...

"Tornado Katrina is now a monster..."

Where do they find these people? Pundits R Us?

There are some times that opinions are an important part of the story. As an example, not to long ago there was a big dust-up with a major coal producer and some local townsfolk about a coal storage silo being erected to close to a school. Just tell the story, please? Give both sides and let me make up my mind. Don't use your position as a talking head to jam your opinion down my throat.

News radio is now the only place you'll find this kind of news anymore. (I'm not talking about the talk-radio hosts, they're full of opinions) Every half hour they give me the local and national news. Period.

I just really wish all these news outlets would just go back to a time when they told me the damn news. A time when being a journalist meant something.

Edgar R. Murrow, where are you when we really need you?

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden


Lorna said...

Our newsreaders are national treasures, I was brought up watching some of the same guys that are still on TV now. They're pretty professional, like you say they just read the news without or despite their own views.
What do you guys call newsreaders if not newsreaders?

Ranger Tom said...

Lorna, they're, em, 'Journalists'...

Geraldo Rivera comes to mind...



Lindsey said...

Tom i totally I agree. I'm a journalism major in school and that is one of our pet peeves. We call the local broadcaster today, "talking heads." That's all they really are.

Kev said...

It's economics, Tom. There is a limited - albeit ample - amount of advertising revenue available and viewership dictates how much of that revenue a network can get. Since there has been a rapid increase in news reporting capability but not so much of an increase in actual news, networks need something extra to draw in viewers.
I love Jon Stewart's take on all this. In his book America, the Book he talks about the "yellow journalism" of 100 or so years ago. Nowadays, he says, that phrased has been shortened to "journalism."

Ranger Tom said...

That's on my list of "must reads" Kev...

Kev said...

Might I also recommend Parliament of Whores, Eat the Rich, and Peace Kills: America's Fun New Imperialism - all by P.J. O'Rourke? And how could I forget his other masterpiece, All the Trouble in the World: the Lighter Side of Overpopulation, Famine, Ecological Disaster, Ethnic Hatred, Plague, and Poverty?

Airforce Guy said...

LOL! You have'nt changed!!!! funny thing is I'm just like you now!!!!!!