Friday, April 19, 2013

No Good News!


The Boston Marathon bombing has yielded many victims -- three dead and nearly two hundred injured, some profoundly and for all time.  This crime has consumed the nation for the whole of this week. But I have to say that one of the victims of this crime might well be cable news and arguably news in general.

I'm accustomed to news media getting things wrong. I'm not aware of a single story which qualified as news, the details of which I'm familiar with that the news media did not get some aspect wrong, sometimes fundamentally wrong. So I assume all stories have some mistake in them somewhere. But the travesty which has passed for news during the coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing has caused me to question even the most basic "facts" which are reported with way too much heat and not nearly enough light.

We are not seeing "news reports" unfortunately, as part of the real time procession of events we actually are witnessing "news gathering" masquerading as properly vetted reports. Consequently mistakes are so common and so pervasive that fundamental trust in any single statement is all but corroded. I literally do not believe a single thing I hear them say on this story.

It's not a brainwave to suggest that CNN, MSNBC, FOX, and the rest of them just take a few moments to process the information they get, give it some due consideration before bombarding the audience with fake "facts" and bogus "news".  (HLN continues in spite of all to cover the torpid Jodie Arias trial, the latest real soap opera for the masses. Phew!) It's a pox on all houses, as they scamper like startled pigeons from one potential lead to another, giving all rumor and all gossip equal billing.

It's been profoundly unprofessional, and frankly shameful. I don't expect they will stop anytime soon, as long as folks continue to watch, but they should look inside themselves and realize that they are demolishing the very brand they work to serve. There has always been bias in news reporting, there have always been mistakes, but the collapse of the capacity to transfer basic information in a cogent way will render them utterly useless to consumers. This is one consumer who has already left, at least when it comes to "breaking news".

Rip Off

5 comments:

  1. That's the problem with TV news when they want to broadcast 24/7 and be the first to report: they report EVERYTHING, whether it has been confirmed or not, and to fill in the gaps they have talking heads make suppositions and assertions. It's not news at all. It's just chatter. I don't watch T.V. news simply because of that and the endless loop where they play the same footage over and over like they did with 9/11/01 when there's
    nothing to add.

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    1. You're of course right. The 24 hour maw cannot be filled and so they throw all sorts of crap into it. But with so much time, you'd hope that a better use could be found.

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  2. It does seem like some TV stations and newspapers' idea of news-gathering is to look at what's on Twitter/Reddit and simply regurgitate it. It does make me grateful for the BBC who may be frustratingly slow in disseminating information but do at least wait till things are properly confirmed before reporting them.

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    1. I saw some hint of an improvement in the early reporting yesterday morning on the events in Watertown. The reporters seemed just a tad restrained, but by the evening most of that had vanished again. This event has been a black mark on the media, and that could prove to be a bigger problem later.

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  3. great title not read that one maybe, lost it perhaps moving house years ago, Shanghied in Space also great title but was "borrowed" As for the news always has and always will be, sensationalism, sold newspapers yesterday, today and tomorrow.

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