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Swine Flu, The Ecomony, and News Media Sensationalism

swbtherantfilesI remember years ago (I’m talking the 70s, 80s, and 90s) when reporting was excellent, accurate, and delivered in a timely fashion for the purpose of keeping the public informed.

Times have changed, and it’s not for the good. Currently we have an extreme economic issue being addressed along with a potentially extreme pandemic issue. Is the economy being addressed well? That can sometimes be a personal opinion. Is the Swine Flu being addressed well? Yes, due to the processes put in place and information gained during the Avian Flu issue, it is.

What isn’t being addressed well? The sensationalism of the news media about everything.

If you or I as an individual would sensationalize something like a trash can fire to the point where people ran out of a building, possibly getting hurt in the process we would be arrested, and rightly so. If the news media sensationalized the economic issues and potential pandemic issues to the point where the economy is hindered from recovering and the people are immobilized with fear about breathing the air around them nothing happens.

This is a major problem. Why? Because at some point the most feared thing in any media that heavily goes against our constitution will happen. Censorship. The worst reality is, the news media will bring it on itself. Is it the actual reporters? No. It’s the fact that the media overall is hurting because of the new version of free press, bloggers, and other sources now available. The fear their only way to survivability is sensationalizing every story to maximize viewer ratings. No longer is good reporting a priority, no longer keeping the public educated and informed a priority, no longer is the actual news a priority.

Think of this fictitious example: A man , 32 is found 1/2 mile from where a child was molested. He vaguely fits the description coerced out of the child by the police. The news media hones in on how bad of a person he is, and constantly has “updates” – even though no real updates have happened. the news media maximized the coverage on the issues up and to his trial. During the trial he is convicted solely on circumstantial evidence. This man loses his wife, his home, his job, and his dignity. Years later an investigator using the case as a reference for another child molestation case finds evidence kept out of the man’s case due to the overwhelming circumstantial evidence presented, and the influence of the media. A non-profit group gets the case opened back up, and due to DNA evidence now presented, that man’s conviction is overturned. During his case the media again sensationalizes it for their own ratings. They take credit for helping get a wrongly convicted person out of jail and getting his life back. They never apologize or recognize in any way that their influence in the media was why he was put in jail in the first place. He still has no wife, no home, and no job. This isn’t so fictitious … comparable situations are happening all over our country.

We have a bad economy because corporations we allowed to control this country, we have a virtual pandemic because the news media is allowed to sensationalize and sometimes false report without repercussions. People have stopping spending due to the sensationalism and hundreds of thousands of children are out of school due to unwarranted fear. This hurts our economy even further because parents don’t get paid if they are at home watching their children and can’t work. At some point, if the news media goes even further out of control, this will lead to censorship in the United States at the same time when freedom of speech is beginning to prevail in places like Cuba. All because the news media is trading good informative reporting for Hollywood style sensationalism. How do you know this is true? Count how many “positive” stories you see in the new media, and then compare that to how many “negative” stories you see in the news media. It’s a sad situation for an industry once so revered.

cluelesstrophyWe affectionately award the latest Clueless Trophy to the general news media for being ever so completely unaware on what it potentially is bringing upon itself. The medias were created to keep the public informed, not to aid big business because they are paying advertisers, not to obtain power by instilling fear into the hearts of Americans, and not invite censorship into this great country because the news media needs to sensationalize to get good ratings.

Maybe try going back to good, informative reporting again?

There’s a thought.

-SWB

PS – It’s time for the proverbial “re-headed step-child”, the news media to be put over someone’s knees and spanked before it gets completely out of hand and hurts us all, and shames this great country we live in.

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  1. NAmi
    January 10, 2010 at 6:05 am

    yes so right

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