Feature Article

The News and Nothing But the News???

by Dorothy Doremus



            I am a certified news junkie. I watch the morning and evening news, heck when I get a chance, I sneak in a bit at lunch time.  I am the type of person that really loves understanding what is going on in the world. I figure the more you know, the better off you are.  So imagine my surprise as I am sitting down to my coffee and bagel this morning, turning the channel of the TV in the lunch room at work to channel 7 (ABC on the east coast), only to find Diane Sawyer, Charlie Gibson, and Robin Roberts discussing not the pressing issues going on in the world, but instead the ABC hit show, Desperate Housewives

            Are you kidding me or what? There is a war in Iraq.  An appointment to the Supreme Court.  The most destructive hurricane in US history just demolished the south.  An investigation into the spy in Vice President Chaney's office.  An ongoing investigation with indictments who leaked a CIA operative's identity to the press.  The best they can do at ABC is to talk about the unfolding plots on Whisteria Lane?  I know there are people who would consider what is going to happen on a TV show as news.  I believe that should be left up to the entertainment shows to report.  It seems to me that ABC has taken the opportunity to soften the news of the day.  Instead of reporting the tough news, the network uses this news program as a launching pad for promoting their hit show. 

            I guess it all goes back to the Mouse, that's right, Mickey himself.  After all Disney owns ABC and if you think that the Disney Company wants to report hard core news, you better think again.  I have seen this corporation turn a blind eye to the real news going on all over the world, such as the plights of the people of Africa.  I guess Mickey doesn't want blood on his hands and they certainly don't want the back lash from the current administration in Washington, which has been quite unforgiving.

            In the book Crimes Against Nature, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. said it best, "The right-winged media is deliberately misleading the American people, the traditional corporate-owned media, CBS, NBC, ABC, and CNN-is doing little to remedy those wrong impressions.  Instead, it focuses on expanding viewership by hawking irrelevant stories that appeal to our prurient interests in sex and celebrity gossip."

            ABC isn't the only guilty party either.  I have a habit of turning through the news stations on those famed cable news networks.  Let's start with "The No Spin Zone", Bill O'Reilly.  I hate to say that someone is intentionally spewing his own agenda, but he is on FOX. I can remember a time when O'Reilly would not support an ideology that was so conservative that it hurt average Americans.  This is no longer the case.  I have watched him support the president through thick and thin, then turn around and attack former President Clinton.  Hello Bill, wake up, it's 2005, President Clinton has been out of office for the last 5 years and can no longer be used as a scapegoat for the current administrations short comings.  I don't know why a news man who claims that he is not putting a spin on the news, doesn't see to it that both sides of an argument are supported in an impartial forum.  Let the people be the judge and jury, not be swayed because of your conservative opinion Bill.

            Let's start calling it what it is, a corporate payoff of the media.  Did you know that there are approximately four commercials for prescription/over-the-counter drugs per commercial break?  Just to show you what I mean by payoff here is an example: I was watching MSNBC the other morning where the hosts were talking about the new drug that prevents cervical cancer.  Amazing drug, but there was no mention of any of the side effects or its effectiveness over the long term.  Why?   Because the maker of this wonder drug, Merck, had another spot on the show - an ad.  In other words, if the host suggested that my drug might not be the best thing since sliced bread, then guess what - our spot is going bye-bye and you will lose revenue.  This is how it works folks.

            Have you picked up a newspaper or a magazine lately?  Filled to the brim with ads for any kind of drug under the sun.  If the publication prints something investigative, then those ads again, go bye-bye, and the papers need this revenue to support the life of the publication.

            I was watching ABC and I saw a blurb on the bottom of the screen about an investigation into the some polling stations for fraud.  Unfortunately, the show went to commercial break and I didn't get a chance to read the rest of the blurb.  So, I watched to see if they would air the story in its entirety.  Guess what - the story never aired and the news blurb was not seen again either. Where did the story behind go?  My guess it that it was pulled.  Why?  Because it may be a damaging story that some political crony doesn't want you to see, so that way you stay in the dark to what is really happening.

            Let's re-visit Good Morning America.  The other week they reported extensively on the opening of Disney World, China.  Normally that would be a nice mention for 30 seconds, but again the Mouse owns this network, so there was an entire show about the opening, the park, etc.  Free advertising for something that is worth a mention, but not a whole program, this isn't the Travel Channel after all.

            I think there should be a thorough investigation into the "Gagging" of the media.  It's going on folks.  I know a lot of people think, ok I watched my news so I know what's going on in the world.  I say, do not take that 10-20 second blurb at law.  Go out and seek the truth.  There are many resources available to you so that way when someone says I saw this on the news last night, you can have the knowledge to set them straight.  Unless, of course, it's another conversation about Desperate Housewives.

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