Posts Tagged ‘National Enquirer’

More Is Less

March 22nd, 2023 No comments

In the early days of journalism, the ability of a news item to reach the front pages of a journal likely meant that, on the whole, the story had some verifiable truth.  The entire purpose of newspapers was to convey… news.

Competition was quite intense for the mantle of the fastest and most accurate news source and reporters were always after the big scoop that would make their careers.  How quaint such times were since such values and markets have changed dramatically over the past half century.

As we know, the news business has now merged inextricably with the entertainment business and platforms have morphed from the  pulp print press, to TV, video and social networks.  The ‘news’ these days is as much entertainment as it is news. The notion of waiting for the 6 o’clock news to find out what’s happening in the world is as quaint as waiting until the evening to call long distance because rates are cheaper.

Having a limited time to post significant news events to the public meant that news outlets had to condense as much meaningful news as possible into the small window of people’s rapt attention.  Ted Turner changed this entirely by introducing CNN in 1980.  From then on, news did not wait for the 6pm broadcast, it was available 24 hours a day.  Of course we know what’s happened since then.  Numerous other competitors emerged and now technology has given us real time news on independent video and social platforms.  Nowadays, news outlets often source these alternate platforms for their own content.

But as we know, there is only so much relevant news at any given time.  Sure, there are innumerate dog bites man stories, but on the whole, the big picture stories that really affect us do not require a 24 hour barrage of reportage.   So instead, to fill the gap between updates of genuine events, all platforms have utilized what can only be described as filler stories.  To fill the empty times available, all manner of opinion givers, fluff pieces and intellectual detritus are offered in order to try to attract eyeballs and listeners.  We are treated to the utterances of all kinds of nutters as networks try to fill their precious airtimes.

On any given day, on any given platform, we can find all manner of stupidity that would never have seen the light of day in more sane times.  As an example, recently there was a story from the LA Times reporting that white people polluted the air of minorities while driving through their neighborhoods on the way to work.  In another piece of brilliance, a view was expressed on TV that 2 plus 2 equaling 4 was a racist construct.  This kind of detritus actually alienates people from paying attention to any kind of news.  They lump all news from these sources as nonsensical fluff. It’s as if the National Enquirer held editorial influence over all journalism.  As an aside, the Enquirer can’t even be considered a tabloid anymore…they actually report news.

The result is that ‘mainstream’ news providers become less and less influential or relevant while at the same time, targeted topic sites attract viewers.   Information and news has become increasingly balkanized so that people can choose what kind of information they want to consume as they do for specialized topic TV channels.  Many have found refuge in outlets containing only stories about NFL football, or golf or sewing or the latest Kardashian adventure.  In doing so, they automatically tune out all other irrelevant news and unwittingly become ignorant of real world issues.

While this is all well and good, this could well create populations that are ignorant of the events that affect their lives because their information focus is so narrow.  There was a segment on the old Tonight Show with Jay Leno called Jaywalking in which random people on the streets were asked simple questions about common knowledge things.  Often, the respondents, notably college students, failed miserably and comically to have any knowledge of real world events or commonly known facts.   While many of us were amused by the ignorance of such people, I’m not sure it wasn’t a genuine sampling of the general population.  I’m reminded of the classic computer programming maxim: GIGO, which means, garbage in, garbage out.

Media Graffitti

January 19th, 2019 No comments

Source: Mueller Disputes BuzzFeed News Report Claiming Trump Directed Michael Cohen Testimony | ValuBitNews

Over the past decade, the subtleties of media bias have been brusquely pushed aside by much more aggressive story lines.  Whereas in the past, editorial spin would be used to characterize a set of events in a certain light, these little fibs have given way to blatant full blown whoppers.  Rest assured, the media still plays the Orwellian word game.  For example, there was the recent violent home invasion in New York  that was perpetrated  by an unwanted house visitor .  We do know that the perpetrator was introduced to an unwanted bullet in his body and  consequently suffered an unwanted death, thereby saving the community the cost of prosecution and incarceration.  I’m surprised he wasn’t characterized as considerate.

But that’s all man bites dog stuff compared to the bonanza of fake news emanating from the activities of anything Trump. Ever since his improbable bursting on to the political scene a few short years ago, there has been a geyser of fake news from every quarter of the media sewer.  It’s as if Donald Trump became the straw doll that they use in psychology offices to indicate where a client had been victimized.  His appearance has revealed the massive hold that mental illness has on a large part of the population.  Even here in Canada, where we have our own comic book character of a Prime Minister, the media outlets are practically giddy when any sniff of Trump’s troubles percolates from south of the border.

While some news outlets vainly try to maintain some credibility, most have clearly given up and are essentially spreaders of gossip and innuendo.  CNN is now the enfant terrible of the media purveyors but others are not far behind.  The particular outlet in the news recently, Buzzfeed, is basically scribbling obscenities on bathroom walls at bus stations; they are essentially media graffiti. They used to make fun of the National Enquirer; but at the Enquirer, stories are at least fact checked.  If they say Nancy Pelosi is a Martian, you can take that to the bank.  Buzzfeed alleges that Trump had directed his disgraced lawyer, Michael Cohen, to lie to Congress.  The frenzy that surrounded that little morsel was like rabid dogs fighting over a discarded piece of hamburger.  The media hadn’t been this giddy since the revelations of Trump peeing in a Russian hotel room: also fake and also by coincidence, reported by Buzzfeed.

Most don’t know that Buzzfeed is owned by NBC, so it’s a clever way to issue fake news without incriminating themselves.  This would be like the Ford Modelling agency also owning an escort business on the side. Some smart lawyer will have to figure out whether there’s any culpability on the part of the parent company and so at least the lawyers win again.  The first amendment is always cited as protection for the dissemination of  scurrilous information, but someone  will figure out that libel and slander laws are also in play….not to mention sedition.

The real tragedy of this comedy is that there is still a market for this stuff.  There remains a  large constituency of the population waiting for the latest hint of the President’s demise like mental patients waiting for their evening medication.  It’s a sad commentary because they don’t realize that if Trump fails, so does the nation.