Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Media Blinded By Its Own Dazzle

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.
Got the bubble-headed bleach-blonde, 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.
(Don Henley, Dirty Laundry)
An indicator of what's BIG in US news is when networks have special graphics zipping across the TV with a flashy soundtrack.
Who's the victim? Who's the villain? Who's the reporter with (to quote Don Henley) "a gleam in her eye"?
One of the biggies this month was - supposedly - 'the Trial Of The Century': Zimmerman versus Trayvon. Live coverage from fake-tanned TV hosts outside the courthouse, cheerily debating whether a self-appointed community watchman was or wasn't a murderer. Or to happily spin it another way: White vs Black. Or Adult vs Teen. Either way, it was 'Trial By Daytime TV'...and roll dem graphics!
But just over the border in Canada, a train loaded with oil derailed in Lac-Megantic, exploded and killed 42, with 5 more missing presumed dead...yet passed as a mere footnote in the good ol' USofA. Curious.
...meanwhile back in NZ, our media eagerly reports every jittery nuance of the WELLINGTON earthquakes, largely ignoring that the vast majority of damage and fear has hit the little town of Seddon. Most of the big shakes have been just off the Seddon coastline - nowhere NEAR the capitol. Yet squeaky wheels make the most noise, so reports around the world scream of collapsed bridges, rail lines shredded, commuters fleeing in abject horror...in Wellington!
Forget poor Seddon, feeling all this for REAL (and where virtually all of the town's 250 houses have sustained damage): the so-called TERROR of Wellingtonians SELLS far better! Well, if nothing else, the government in its parliamentary palace in Wellington may be finally gaining a slight understanding of what Christchurch experienced two years ago!
And of course how can we forget the recent US reporting of the Seddon EQ as actually happening right across Southern AUSTRALIA!!!
For the media these days, it all boils down to 'whatever sells...' and to hell with accuracy! Just give us dirty laundry.

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