“What’s the difference between a Journalist and a catfish? One’s a bottom-dwelling scumsucker, the other’s a fish.”

It’s been a complaint of mine for a LONG time now.

I’m going through the headlines on one of our local “news” stations. This station is, of course, complete with the bubbleheaded bleach blonde that on Henley ranted about 30 years ago. And the following are considered “news” by this station.

Report: Maggie Gyllenhaal is pregnant

Elderly man mistakenly donates $13,000 in coat pocket

Magazine says Cincinnati is 16th saddest city

Airmen Against Drunk Driving get $7,000

 

And, as you know all too well, the actual broadcasts of local “news” programs broadcast enough fluff to stuff every pillow in Cleveland, every day. Hard-hitting items about where to get the best Black Friday deals, or whether or not the local kitty boutique is using date-expired shampoo on Mittens. Stuff that educates no one, helps no one, and ultimately does society a great deal of harm by making those who watch the “news” completely unequipped to try to participate in the society.

Tina Dupuy couldn’t be more right about local “news.” Sadly.

Yes, everyone hates Congress but loves their Congressman. Everyone thinks “the media” is biased, wrong and awful – but tunes in to their local anchor with admiration and trust. A pox on them all, except our guy…

Last week a PublicMind FDU poll went viral with the line, “Fox News [viewers] are five-points more likely than those who watch no news at all, to incorrectly say it’s the U.S. that is bailing out European countries.” The under-reported story (buried lede as we call it in “the media”) was of those polled 67 percent said they watched their local news. And that could explain why 36 percent said they didn’t know who was bailing out Europe and only 30 percent gave the correct answer (Germany).

Did you know that Iceland is having a revolution as a direct result of the economic meltdown centered in the U.S. housing market? How about Syria being sanctioned by the Arab League? Vladamir Putin has gotten himself back on the ballot in Russia?

And it’s not just the “reading off BBC headlines” news the local news misses – it’s the actual local news: Investigative news in the public interest. News about the economy, politics and local issues.

Your local news opts to put a camera in the face of a crime victim and be a staple of “fear porn” rather than ever tackle difficult segments holding the school board/city council/mayor/state legislature/governor accountable for anything.

Why can I assume without sitting down and watching a week of your local newscast that they’re more than likely gleefully doing a recap of what happened on Dancing With the Stars/American Idol/Survivor tonight? Because your local broadcast news is more than likely ratings driven. And because of the last couple of decades of ratings driven local news our Edward R. Murrows have all become Harvey Levins.

Why are Americans not even rising to the level of ill informed and topping out at totally clueless? Because as Homo sapiens, we are effectively distracted by shiny objects and Kardashians. Plus our monkey brains got a chance to evolve this long by being on hyper-alert for danger, so we eat up any story telling us about “the hidden dangers lurking in our homes!” So of course we tune-in as told and in that way reward our local yokels for their reportage. And local yokels as Homo sapiens … also like rewards. It’s a vicious circle.

But, now as there are Americans Occupying public spaces demanding economic justice and other Americans being baffled as to why that is: it’s become clear some of the problem is our local news broadcasts.

It is completely unacceptable for a 30-minute telecast with 10 minutes of commercials and two minutes of teasers to have any minutes for a Bieber. Nothing ever involving a Real Housewife is really news. Curb the fear porn. Plus it’s absolutely journalistic malfeasance to give airtime to any alleged psychic … even when they’re an octopus.

I have read the text of a broadcast license, and I distinctly recall one of the conditions being “service” to the community. These broadcasters serve no one but their corporate masters, who prefer that we remain uninformed. The uninformed public is like a frog in a pot of water; when the temperature is turned up gradually, the frog will not notice, until the temperature of the water has become lethal. The uninformed public, distracted by fluff and nonsense masquerading as “news,” has not noticed that our pay has declined, our bridges have become weak, our schools have become little more than warehouses, and our Government has become an organized crime syndicate. We, like the frog, are now in a lethal environment for us, and it may be too late to do anything but start all over.

One of the things we need to do, should we have to start over, is make damn sure that “news” broadcasts actually seek to inform people about issues that matter to people. Who Kim Kardishian marries this week has nothing to do with whether or not I’ll have a job tomorrow. Little BigHair’s book signing downtown doesn’t tell me a thing about the brownfield on the edge of town that is contaminated with wastes seeping into my water supply. No one who refuses to inform the citizenry deserves, or should have, a broadcast license.

Frankly, I’d be OK with that. I’m really sick of the bubbleheaded bleached blondes and their useless drivel.

Plutocrap

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