Thursday, August 25, 2011
How do you normally get the news? Me, it's a combo like most people-catch bits & pieces as I'm getting ready in the AM (I usually watch KTLA because it's a habit unlike some female friends that watch for glimpse of Henry DiCarlo.), listening to KNX1070 in the car, or quick bits when listening to a music channel on FM. Then there's the internet, I like to pop open Yahoo or MSN and embarrassingly, TMZ. Occasionally, WSJ or ABC News websites get opened.
So today, I'm going to lament on the really poor news coverage provided by the most popular websites. Why is it poor? Because network producers including websites and TV, just want to deliver the bullet pointed version of events. I was going to say the Reader's Digest version but even that abbreviated style of reporting is gone unless you read the paper. We just get the highlights. We're like high level executives in a Fortune 500 company-just the summary and bullet points. Somehow, when you move up the corporate ladder, time is so precious that one can't be bothered with the details but that's a different rant.
We never get the full in depth, both sides point of view reporting of years gone by. I understand the time constraints of television and how much more productive and busy we are today versus 20 years ago. But sometimes I miss Walter Cronkite or Harry Reasoner or even Jerry Dunphy. Guys like Anderson Cooper are good but there's just too much hype surrounding these guys like that video that went viral the other day of Cooper laughing and tearing up after a joke. What happened to reporting the news instead of being the news.
I still love the newspaper even though I just get the weekend edition from Thursday to Sunday. I don't read it cover to cover like some people but I do scan the articles and if one catches my eye, I'll read it. The bad thing about the newspapers is that they're getting so small now and revenue is so down that they've cut reporters so in depth reporting is not as abundant as before. But there are great reporters and photographers still working the papers. Too bad Warren Buffett gave them a thumbs down as an investment and long term viable business. I think it accelerated the progression to newspapers' current moribund state.
Now there are some other notable ways of getting quality news. 60 Minutes has always been IMHO tops for providing insight and in depth reporting on the topics they focus on. I think that Newsweek and Time magazine still produce quality well-researched articles on news stories. One such story recently was the Dominique Strauss-Kahn story. http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2011/07/24/dsk-maid-tells-of-her-alleged-rape-by-strauss-kahn-exclusive.html
This article breaks down the events as told by the maid and questions the veracity and timing. It makes a compelling case for the maid's rape allegations. This is a perfect example of in depth reporting we don't get in our daily news. Had I not read this article, I would have thought 1) the maid was super fugly because reports on TV and Internet said defense lawyers brought up the fact that she was from an African tribe and frankly not attractive enough for DSK. She's not fugly at all. 2) The maid is a money hungry person looking to score big time just because she volunteered to take over that floor's duties when the normal employee was out that day. If you were in the service industry, wouldn't you want to work the celebrity table or the suites? I would because it means bigger tips. 3) DSK has a history of alleged trysts that may have pushed the limits of sexual assault had they occurred in the US. This man is no saint and is protected by some heavy hitters. The DA is considering dropping the case because they don't think they can win it because DSK's lawyers will create enough doubt to win his innocence. And the sad part is that neither the DA nor DSK's attorneys deny that a sexual encounter occurred. It's the classic "he said, she said" scenario, and the man with the power and money will use them indignantly to shun the justice system. The DA won't prosecute if they don't think they have a decent chance of winning. That's how the system works.
So getting back to bad news reporting, another thing that just kills me, it really does, (Gosh, I'm beginning to sound like Holden Caulfield) is the damn commercials every time you click on a news video. 15 seconds of my life is wasted anytime I want to see a news clip. At least Youtube gives you the option of skipping after 5 seconds but every news website makes you watch a damn commercial. If I want to see commercials, I'll turn on the television. Then there's the websites that know it's a hot topic and they get you over the barrel with 30 seconds of commercials. Rat bastards.
So if you're like me and want to get decent news coverage, buy a newspaper or a magazine (newsweek, time, us news & world report), or turn on the BBC or Al Jazeera. You'll get a different perspective and a little more in depth coverage. Compare coverages with CNN or Fox, you'll begin to appreciate how news reporting used to be.