On the Media

There once was a time that you tuned into the National News programs in the evening, or read a newspaper like the New York Times, and you got the news. There was no Internet, or blogs or other avenues for gathering information about what was going on around our world. The perception of the venerable news sources was that they were trusted and conveyed news without opinion... just the facts.

I used to listen or watch the news for the weather reports. All I really needed to know is what I need to wear for the day... do I need to bring an umbrella... do I need a jacket... can I wear shorts? there was a time the weather man will give you a percent chance of rain. Nowadays, he/she will pinpoint exactly when it will start raining, how heavy the rainfall might be etc. They are usually wrong in that they always try to sensationalize the weather. they will tell you it will potentially dump 5 inches of rain, and flood out major roads when in fact it just drizzled. The reality is that it does not matter how much rain is expected, only that I have to bring my umbrella. They sensationalize the temperature by adding a 'wind chill factor' in the winter and a 'heat index' in the summer. Does it really matter that it is 20 degrees Fahrenheit, but the wind chill (defined as what it feels like being naked, as if I'll be running around naked outside) says 10 below... I'll still need my winter coat, gloves and hat. Does it really matter that it is 90 degrees but the heat index is 110?

I don't listen to the weather man anymore because what they tell us is nonsense.... I get a better weather report by looking out of my window. They don't tell me just the facts anymore.

The news that is presented to us is just like the weather report... they try to sensationalize it as well as try to tell a story. The story is what the editors want us to think about the facts they are presenting. Because the facts are going through this kind of editing, we do not get the overall picture anymore. Since there are now so many avenues of information gathering and presentation due to the Internet and blogs, we can now get a better picture of what is actually happening. There are tons of news sources at our fingertips, and many people sifting through these to find different perspectives on the same set of facts. In a lot of cases, finding facts that were either overlooked, not reported or not found by the Media. This is a problem when editing to tell a story in that you will usually be proven inaccurate and unreliable. If the media just stuck to the facts without editorial comment, they would be a lot better off. If the media was consistent in the treatment facts, they would be a lot better off.

Case in point: The media has dug into Governor Palin's accomplishments, life and family to a much higher degree that they did with Biden or Obama. Granted they have not had as much time to do this digging so it was compressed into a few short weeks. They had about 16 months to dig into Obama's history with William Ayres ( a known terrorist), but they have not. They had enough time to dig into Obama's pastor for 20 years, who weekly lectured to his congregation about racist and Anti-American ideals while Obama and his family sat and listened. It was only until conservative talk radio did the job of the Media that Obama left that pastor. For all the hammering that Palin is getting about being qualified, has the same hammering happened to Obama or Biden?

On Odd Couple quote applies here: 'Do you want speed or accuracy'? The Media has sacrificed accuracy for speed. Remember the 2000 election when they called the election in Florida for Gore an hour before the poles closed in a part of the state? If they hadn't sacrifsed accuracy, there would have been more Bush votes from the more conservative pan-handle, thus there wouldn't have been cause for Gore to try to steal the election.

The bottom line is that the Media, in trying to tell a story, rather than telling us the facts, has lost their direction as to why they are important to us, and they need to get their compass re-aligned. It is no wonder their viewership and readership is declining. It is no wonder alternative media readership is expanding.

I would watch a news program or read a newspaper, even if their articles were a day behind, as long as the facts are accurate and well researched.

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