Media Hysteria

03 Sep

While it was nice having electricity and air conditioning, I couldn’t help but thinking on Monday that we might have been better off without all of the crazy media hysteria concerning Hurricane Gustav and the dastardly cesspool media of the internet throwing a 17 year old girl under the bus.

I was so incensed with Shepard Smith’s scandalous behavior in the French Quarter that I actually emailed him at Fox.  I have yet to hear about my email of protest:

Mr. Smith,

I find it appalling and a slap in the face to all Louisianaians to appear on national TV from the French Quarter broadcasting about the danger to residents, etc., adorned in an OLE MISS HAT.  Sir, you should be ashamed.

As if this wasn’t enough, Geraldo Riveria was desparately seeking drama, going batshit crazy about a man “stranded in the water”.  After a few anxious seconds, he realizes that the dude was actually on a life line, in a life jacket and trying to secure a propane tank that had come loose from high water.

See both atrocities here, for yourself:

Throughout the day, family in Louisiana and family staying here with us, all laughed about the “drama” unfolding and how the media was trying so hard to “make” a story.  Billboards were obliterated (paper flying in the wind), mass flooding had begun (a storm drain was clogged), dangerous debris was littering the roadways (two leaves in the middle of the street were shown — I am not kidding), and Jim Cantore from the Weather Channel basically cried on TV because some fishermen were electing to ride out the storm on their boat — a 42′ foot boat build for survival in high seas and tethered in port.

EVERYTHING in the media is so overblown, so taken out of context and so exploitive.  While these storms ARE killers and ARE bad and ARE destructive, the media tries to sensationalize and dramatize every single drop they can, to garner your undivided attention for as long as they possibly can.

Just remember, people, when you are watching this….temper it down about 70%.  I think the media, as a whole, is totally irresponsible.  It reminds me of Pravda in the now-defunct Soviet Union, except that the messages are controlled by capitalists who are bent on trying to sensationalize the news to scare and intimidate you.  The news media has created a generation of cynical and jaded adults who basically have no hope.  Everything is dire and drastic.  And they wonder why their ratings have plummeted and people run for the stupidity of reality shows.

I always loved the line in John Mayer’s song Waiting on the World to Change:

When you trust your television, what you get is what you got….when they own the information, well, they can bend it all they want. 

And, bend they do.  When blogging first came into being, it was a refreshing honest assessment of issues and feelings by responsible people.  Now, as I’ve seen over the last two years, people and organizations use blogs to manipulate messages, smear people from all walks of life and generally try to make untruths reality.  What happened to obeying the commandment against “bearing false witness”.  Oh, I forgot, religon has no place in the public discourse.

Well, I may be on a soapbox today, but belief is a beautiful armor…as the song goes.  It’s time for people everywhere to realize that there are radical beliefs on all sides of every issue, but most reasonable people (I like to think that’s 80% of the population) are somewhere in the middle.  I urge people to consider that there is no equivocally “right” answer.  The best progress to solving problems comes when good people compromise for the good of the whole.  It’s time for this country to hold the irresponsible main media and “blogging media” accountable for inappropriately using their “voice” to create fury and maelstorm to get your eyes on their channel to sell advertising.  That’s right folks, it all comes down to money.

  Belief, John Mayer

Is there anyone who ever remembers
changing their mind from the paint on a sign?,
is there anyone who really recalls
ever breaking rank at all
for something someone yelled real loud one time?
oh, everyone believes
in how they think it oughta be
oh, everyone believes
and they’re not going easily

belief is a beautiful armor
but makes for the heaviest sword
like punching underwater
you never can hit who you’re trying for
some lead the exhibition
and some have to know they tried
it’s the chemical weapon
for the war that’s raging on inside
oh, everyone believes
from emptiness to everything
oh, everyone believes
and no one’s going quietly

we’re never gonna win the world
we’re never gonna stop the war
we’re never gonna beat this
if belief is what we’re fighting for

we’re never gonna win the world
we’re never gonna stop the war
we’re never gonna beat this
if belief is what we’re fighting for

is there anyone you can remember
ever surrender with their life on the line?

we’re never gonna win the world
we’re never gonna stop the war
we’re never gonna beat this
if belief is what we’re fighting for

we’re never gonna win the world
we’re never gonna stop the war
we’re never gonna beat this
if belief is what we’re fighting for

what puts a hundred thousand children in the sand?
belief can, belief can
what puts a folded flag inside his mother’s hand?
belief can, belief can


Posted by on September 3, 2008 in hurricane, John Mayer, Louisiana


Tags: , ,

11 responses to “Media Hysteria

  1. huckleberryfriend

    September 3, 2008 at 10:28 am

    I got pissed off when they starting making the hurricane sound like a football game. They want the drama – not the reality. And I still think they should cover the economic impact of the storm as well as the people aspect. None of the cable news stations did a very good job and Geraldo has no place on TV or in the news business period.

    More and more TV and radio stations are starting to stream live on the Internet and that gives us a much better picture of what is really going on. I watched the Lafayette station for a while and they were doing a pretty good job.

    Or you could just start your own news broadcast. Just let it be known that you want everyone to send you news and news clips and put together a half hour broadcast every night (like Naked News). For now you could put it on YouTube and just embed in your blog.

  2. Shrewspeaks

    September 3, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    Yellow Journalism is nothing new, however, in an age where reality tv prevails the line that news folks like Geraldo cross are seemingly more and more blurred.

    Blogging is another story. The tradition of inciting the public to action through public billets of personal opinion declarations is one that dates back to the colonial era and can be seen as the backbone of our system of free speech. In America everyone is entitled to express their opinion. The trouble lately is the fostering of falsehoods as fact within these certain blogs and presented as NEWS WORTHY items. I am happy that the majority of blogs are personal expressions of the individual who maintains them and the community he/she fosters. Of late, marketers (and I am one) have found them blogs and are trying to manipulate the ‘public’ for some measure whether it is to buy more of Product X, say Leona Lewis is the next best thing or saddly to insinuate that a mother did not give birth to her child.

    It is easy to get caught up in emotions and to fire off nasty bombs (I have been guilty of this with a certain “star”) but no good comes from it. I vow to be silent if I have nothing constructive to say. Does that mean I won’t voice my opinion? Heck no…try to stop me. Nor should anyone else stiffel an honest opinion…but the muck raking…must stop.

  3. music maven

    September 3, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    Tinkerbell, dear friend.

    As a genteel southern woman *ahem*, I find it simply repulsive. I think that most decent people do too.

    We all were killing ourselves laughing at the height of the storm, mocking the “drama” mongers. Fortunately, we were in the middle of it and know that much of what they say is crap. However, many relatives that live out of state see that and are driven to worry and despair over the safety of their loved ones. It’s criminal. Criminal, I tell ya.

    BTW, 37th Street looks peachy.

  4. Amy

    September 3, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    I couldn’t agree more about the whole media craze! Aside from the loss of AC and internet during hurricanes, the constant embellishing of the news is the worst part!!! It puts people in a sort of news trance…it’s all hyped up, but at the same time you just can’t change the channel.
    I begged the deClouet clan to watch my 90210 marathon Monday on the soap opera channel…you can imagine how that request went over in Big Mike’s house!

    U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday comes to mind here for me:

    And its true we are immune
    When fact is fiction and tv reality
    And today the millions cry
    We eat and drink while tomorrow they die

  5. brc

    September 3, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    The Geraldo video is hysterical. What a moron.

    I was checking in with the Weather Channel from time to time to see them trying to make bushes blowing in the wind compelling. I couldn’t help but feel like the people on the Weather Channel were disappointed that the storm wasn’t worse.

    I also am surprised that the media seems to have lost all interest in the story once they realized that NOLA wasn’t underwater. I get the impression that there are many communities that were hit hard by the surge… some worse than Katrina.

  6. Shrewspeaks

    September 3, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    Amen brc! We know from stories here that NOLA isn’t the only jewel of the deep south!

    And MM “Hello lampost whacha knowin’ Ain’t got no time for me…doodoodoodoo Feelin’ Groovy!” Looks like I am stuck in Soprano land…can we chat while the red states talk?

  7. music maven

    September 3, 2008 at 4:14 pm


  8. little Deb

    September 4, 2008 at 7:21 am

    I’m so with ya MM. Having lived in the hurricane state of Florida for so long, the media bs when a storm approaches is ridiculous – especially the idiots doing the live broadcasts. It almost makes me want to see them getting clobbered by a tree or other debris.

    This song pretty much describes the news media today.

    Don Henley – Dirty Laundry

    “I make my living off the Evening News
    Just give me something-something I can use
    People love it when you lose,
    They love dirty laundry

    Well, I coulda been an actor,
    but I wound up here
    I just have to look good, I
    don’t have to be clear
    Come and whisper in my ear
    Give us dirty laundry

    Kick ’em when they’re up
    Kick ’em when they’re down
    Kick ’em when they’re up
    Kick ’em when they’re up
    Kick ’em all around

    We got the bubble-headed-bleach-blonde who
    comes on at five
    She can tell you ’bout the
    plane crash with a gleam
    in her eye
    It’s interesting when people die-
    Give us dirty laundry

    Can we film the operation?
    Is the head dead yet?
    You know, the boys in the newsroom got a
    running bet
    Get the widow on the set!
    We need dirty laundry

    You don’t really need to find
    out what’s going on
    You don’t really want to know
    just how far it’s gone
    Just leave well enough alone
    Eat your dirty laundry

    Kick ’em when they’re up
    Kick ’em when they’re down
    Kick ’em when they’re stiff
    Kick ’em all around

    Dirty little secrets
    Dirty little lies
    We got our dirty little
    fingers in everybody’s pie
    We love to cut you down to size
    We love dirty laundry

    We can do “The Innuendo”
    We can dance and sing
    When it’s said and done we
    haven’t told you a thing
    We all know that Crap is King
    Give us dirty laundry!

  9. brc

    September 5, 2008 at 7:52 am

    Well stated little Deb.

    Ultimately, I think the problem lies with the public, because we are compelled by and consume the “dirty laundry.” The media has learned that if they dish it out, we will eat it up. I think this applies both to the news and the garbage that passes for television entertainment.

  10. little Deb

    September 5, 2008 at 11:07 am

    You know what brc? I agree with you to a certain extent. It’s kind of like the way I feel about a lot of the music played on the radio today. If they keep feeding us hot dogs instead of steak, we’re gonna think that hot dogs are great and eventually forget about the steak. I feel that if they didn’t show so much of the shit, we wouldn’t be compelled to watch it, read it or listen to it.

    I just have to add something. The remains of Tropical Storm Hanna is arriving here on Long Island this weekend. BFD! So, we’re gonna get some rain and it might get a little windy. This morning’s newspaper was actually telling people to stock up on non perishable food, have necessities packed in case of evacuation, get batteries, etc. The emergency shelters are on standby, all the emergency equipment is being gathered and moved everywhere. While I realize that it will be a bad rain storm (if it stays on track) and some people might lose power, the newspaper had a whole page of gloom and doom with pictures of the damage done in Haiti showing houses under water. Two women in line at the grocery store this morning were debating whether to board up their windows. I couldn’t help myself. I told them that I was from Florida and that all they should worry about is having a good umbrella. I got a great New Yorker look out of that one. I know I’m not going near a Home Depot today. Come on people!

    Okay – rant over. Have a great day everyone.

  11. brc

    September 5, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    There’s something to be said for preparation, but it seems that they’re taking the concept of “covering all bases” a bit too far. If they get all worked up about a lot of rain, then when people really need to prepare, they’re not going to take it seriously.

    Stay dry!!


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