Thursday, August 4, 2011

Shock the Monkies

Is is just me, or are you all also getting tired of the escalating hysterical tone creeping into every corner of our news media? Just this morning, a local Albuquerque news anchor was reporting on an incident in Newport Beach, CA, involving a teenage boy who was digging a pit on the beach, when the pit caved in on him, trapping him for about 20 minutes. Twenty minutes. About the right amount of time it takes for a good half dozen people on a crowded beach to notice what happened and to dig him out with their hands.

Hardly anything to get worked up about, right? And if you think about it, the story is more funny than scary.

But here's our local reporter: "The boy will appear on this morning's Today show in an exclusive interview to talk about his frightening ordeal."

Note the excessive use of hysteria-laden adjectives here: "Exclusive," "frightening," "ordeal." Had I written that back in my college days, my professor would have bled all over it, sent it back to me in the form of a paper airplane with the words Dumb Shit written on the wings, and then applied his boot to my butt before giving me an F and sending me off to the nearest Wimmin's Study class.

Where, at some point in the middle of Post World War II Feminist Thought: A Praxis for the Community, it finally would have hit me: "The teen will appear on this morning's Today show to talk about what happened." D'oh!

Of course, this isn't the worst of it. Turn on any national news outlet, from NBC Nightly News to MSNBC to Fox to CNN, and you'll hear a similar sort of editorializing used to report on everything from localized events to national crises of confidence.

Which leads me to wonder: if everything is painted with the same broad brush strokes of anxiety and fear, how on earth are we ever going to be able to calm down long enough to think and distinguish real problems (our national debt, escalating military actions, cough, cough) from those created as paper tiger crises to propagate a political agenda (war on drugs, climate change, entitlement payments, cough, cough).

Oh. That's right. We're not supposed to think. We're supposed to follow.


LaDivaCucina said...

No shit. I would get the "real" story about what was going on in America when I was living in Australia, watching news they would never show here...wonder why you never see casualties from the wars? The news when I lived in L.A. was about three things: celebrities, plastic surgery and the results of American Idol. Or Survivor. That was news.

The Weather Channel and local news gets REALLY hysterical during hurricane season. It really works detrimentally as you hear so much hype that when you really SHOULD take notice, people are immune and feel apathy..."yeah, right, we've heard THIS before..." I rarely watch news on TV (except for BBC) and read my news on the Internet from a variety of sources.

Anonymous said...

My favorite response to leftist media hysteria remains the "ALAR CRISIS!" from a long time ago. You probably weren't born yet.

Basically, one leftist pseudo-science group did one flawed study purporting that a chemical used by apple growers was extremely carcinogenic. Naturally, all the media maggotry hyped the story to death which bankrupted several apple growers.

A farmer responded to the hysteria by drinking a full cup of pure alar on TV. Then reputable scientists did a legitimate study showing there was no danger to humans.

Then the leftist pseudo-science crowd and the media gave up and went on to the next crisis.

The coming Ice Age of Global Cooling.

chick9 on the fly said...

the leftist media should rejoice at such "ordeals" and encourage more idiot teens to dig holes and bury their earth killing selfs in order to save the polar bears.

moi said...

La Diva: You hit on a very good point. Because we expend so much energy on "non-news," there's nothing left for when real emotion is called for. If every person is a hero, every event a tragedy, every impending storm a killer, and every minority pervert suddenly the majority, our circuits will eventually blow and we'll tune everything out.

Troll: There seems to be two things going on here at once: One, a general, over all hysterical tone of voice regarding ALL news, and fear mongering by both sides of the aisle that spills over into the media. The general hysteria I put down to a crisis of culture, a kind of wimpification of human will; the political fear-mongering to a crisis of leadership, and both parties as far as I'm concerned do their share. If our leaders have us convinced that the sky is in perpetual danger of falling, they can pass outrageous legislation in the name of "doing good" (the Patriot Act, TARP, Obamacare), position themselves as saviors, get themselve reelected, and ride the gravy train of money and power from now until the end of time.

Chick 9: Another tee shirt: Kill a teen, save a polar bear. Better yet, FEED the teen to the polar bear!

The Poet Laura-eate said...

I just missed a skirt I was bidding for on e-bay. Who shall I sell my traumatic story to?

moi said...

Poet: "We now bring you the sad story of one Miss Poet Laura-eate, mild mannered denizen of the United Kingdom and hounder of all things deeply discounted on eBay, who today had her high hopes for a new fall wardrobe item brutally dashed in a nasty bidding war. It is thought that the dastardly deed was committed by someone who contracted the services of Gixen, whose virtual snipe bidders mercilessly swept down upon the auction in it's last, final seconds, snatching from Laura's clutches the pretty wool blend paisley print pencil skirt, size 4, lined, by Elevenses, leaving her sobbing in her cup of tea. 'Why? Why do these snipers do this?' Laura lamented to our cameras, dabbing at her eyes with her hankie. 'Don't they know it was I, I! who was destined to wear this skirt? Now I'm going to be forced to shop the discount bins at Harrod's.' Oh, the horror."

LaDivaCucina said...

Hi Poet Laura-eate, I am interested in your story for my blog and think your treacherous ordeal should be shared. I realize how traumatized you must be, but was wondering if you could put that behind you and think of all the other ebay bidders you can save from the same fate? It's your duty. You need to tell your story! Have your people get in touch with my people, thanks!

Karl said...

Good afternoon Moi,

Their the media, it's their job to muddy the waters, that's what they're paid to do. The more they flash and bang, the harder it is for anyone watching to concentrate.

@ Poet: Oh come here, I'll help you. I love little squirrels. (they're so tasty)

Pam said...

Sigh. Yep, that's why I quit watching the news. I only briefly read a few things on the internet now. And mostly just have made myself happier by doing it. But that doesn't mean that people by the dozens don't watch the news and take it on themselves to write their elected officials about it all. And this is what my job has turned into. Sigh.

moi said...

La Diva: I hope Poet hasn't gone into hiding over this.

Karl: I thought the job of the media was to serve as the fourth estate. Guess those days are long gone.

Pam: Checks mirror to see if my last letter to Senator Tom Udall marks me as one of those nutcases.

Jenny said...

next will come the lawsuit from the boy's parents for not having the proper safety standards in place for the BEACH. Because of course, it wasn't his fault or anything.

good post.

Aunty Belle said...


Y'all is hilarious.

I'se always amazed to catch BBC or CNN in Euro waters. The new about US is utterly different--as La Diva noted. I wuz in alien lands when the election of Nov. 2000 romped through every political chess move possible--an the alien news accounts ain't nothin' like the fray we heard once returned to home turf.

La Diva is also correct on hurricane weather wimps--lemme jes' say that last week's tropical storm Emily wuz a HUGE disappointment to the weather folk--they tried an' tried to make it destroy some islet somehwar'--only fer nature to fizzle it.

Did'ja see that NASA scientist tawken about how thar' jes' ain't no global warmin'--the photos from outer space prov that the earth's heatin' up is no mor'n 1% not the 3% that will fry is to potato chips--an even that will abate on its own wif no help from us cause Earth knows how to make the cloud s absorb or release gasses--whol thang is a sham--but we knew that, din't we.

bottom line: people make decisions based on the info they have. feed them wrong info an' folks cain't make wise decisions--they's led to make the "democratic" decisions their handlers intend.

Good post.

Aunty Belle said...

@ Poet

moi said...

Boxer: I wonder if anyone asked the teen, "What were you thinking, you dumb ass?"

Aunty: I thought the same thing about Emily. The news folks tried so, so hard to make something out of nothing! Almost as if they WANT tragedy to happen so they can justify their puny little jobs.

Milk River Madman said...

Great post. Remember when gas was $3.80 in 2006 and it was front page news? When Obama became president gas was $1.80. Now it hovers at $4 and no one says a word.

How do you get a "journalism" degree? Do you have to be able to name the MTV veejays from 1981? What is "journalistic integrity" besides the biggest oxymoron of all time?

When I log into my yahoo account, I'm always disgusted with what is "news". News, to liberals, is anything that will distract us from is actually going on. Sorry, I hate journalists. Mostly because they are commie-pinko etc, but the real reason I don't like them is the way they condescend to every person. Really? I have news for every journalist. Every person reading this blog could have a deabilitating stroke and still be smarter than any journalist. Do you hear me Katie Couric? Short bus.

moi said...

MRM: Do you hear me Katie Couric? Short bus. Bwahahahahaha!

Journalism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. Or someone who didn't make law school.

Pam said...

DOn't get me wrong, it is always a good idea to make sure your elected officials know how you feel about the issues. And keep writing until you get a response. I'm just saying that my job has mostly turned into responding to said e-mails. But I'm capable of so much more!

moi said...

Pam: Can you do it with tongue in cheek?