Friday, May 20, 2005

If Chicken Little Says That the Sky is Falling....

Stories retracted, live “breaking” news stories that don’t tell us anything and “journalists” who have been found to make up sources.
Is it any wonder that public trust is eroded in what citizens once heralded as the “Fourth Estate?” Even journalists sometimes become frustrated.
I work from home and rarely have the television on during the day, except for the hour in which I’m cooking dinner so I can get my husband off to work by 4 p.m. During that hour, I like to flip on the television and watch the end of a soap and the beginning of Dr. Phil. I’m a news junkie; so I really don’t mind when real breaking news comes on to give us important details.
However, I’ve had to question what “real” news is in the past week and wonder if I’m out of sync or is it the media?
Last week, I turned on the television on a gray day expecting to find out who killed A.J. on General Hospital and instead got Johnny Rowlands in his helicopter talking about a severe thunderstorm.
“Wow,” I thought. “Must be some tornadoes out.”
As I started dinner, I listened to Johnny and the rest of the weather team talk about this thunderstorm, which was brewing in the Northern most part of the Metro. I looked out above my house, which borders the Southern most portion of Wyandotte County. It didn’t look that ominous.
The banter of “Do you see anything that resembles a wall cloud?” from the newsroom to Rowlands in the helicopter lasted for over an hour. Johnny never did see anything that even resembled a wall cloud, yet as I flipped stations, all of the local news was fixed on this thunderstorm, which was producing nothing more than tiny hail in scattered areas. I didn’t gather that the storm was a real danger to anyone in the viewing area.
On Wednesday, a 46-minute bank hold up-hostage situation lasted throughout the day. After the suspect was shot at the Executive Airport in Olathe about 10 a.m., there was nothing to report, except to repeat the same information over and over. The live coverage lasted until well after noon and I must have seen those poor women hostages trying to cover themselves with blankets over a dozen times.
In the past two weeks, news has broken that a freelance journalist was caught making up sources and Newsweek had to retract their story on interrogators allegedly desecrating the Q’uran at Guantanamo Bay.
Much adieu over nothing does little to solidify the reputation of the media in the public’s eye. Too much live coverage of slow moving chases, filming a cloud and bank robberies once there is no new information to report only irritates the public and creates a “Chicken Little” syndrome. One day the sky might be falling and people will not be paying attention.
There’s nothing more to say about making up sources and rushing to print without verifiable information except shame on us, the media, for allowing such a noble profession-one that is suppose to be protecting Democracy to get such a black eye.

Without the public’s trust, we really can’t do our jobs.


Blogger hooper2 said...

I'm glad that somebody else is as annoyed, frustrated, irrated with all the "breaking news" we are bombarded with all day long. On the local stations, this "breaking news" is normally about some shooting, murder, robbery, etc. Personally, I'd trade any and all breaking news for news about something positive going on in our community.

3:29 PM CDT  
Blogger Janet said...

I agree that the media has gotten out of hand. Sometimes I feel the stations are trying to see who can outdo who. Maybe they just like the limelight. All this "breaking news" is unnecessary unless it affects the entire area. A quick news update with NEW NEWS is welcome rehashing the same old news is uncalled for.

5:29 AM CDT  

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