Wednesday, June 7

Not Affiliated With Any Known Form of Journalism

We had two major news stories here locally last week--the identity mixup of two victims of the Taylor University crash last month, then the home invasion murder of seven members of an Eastside family, followed by the 48-hour manhunt for the primary suspect. It was a real test for the local talking hairdos, as both stories were big, garnered national attention, and were so serious that the ordinary vapid patter had to be shelved. You could see the strain on some of 'em by the second half hour.

Which meant that by Monday we were back with a vengeance to the everyday business of taking oversized bites out of a shit sandwich while smiling and telling the viewership just how garsh-darned good the thing tasted. That included yesterday's big 666 story, including an "interview" with the proud parents of a baby boy born by C-section on 6-5 so that their friends wouldn't make fun of them--that's what they said, and that's why I put "interview" in quotes. There was a distinct feel of making fun of the handicapped about the whole thing, but at no time did any of the professional journalists hot on the story's trail mention that 6-6-06 has nothing whatever to do with the Beast, if in fact anything does. The whole thing played so matter of factly you'd have imagined they ran a story on math phobias every day, or a This Week's Exorcism feature.

I still had a headache left over from accidentally hearing one-time President of the United States George W. Bush say, of whatever euphemism he was using for same-sex marriage, that "the nation should decide," which I'm sure at one point would have genuinely caused "conservative" heads to start exploding. But my suspicion is that the sort of person who'd be outraged by the trampling of state's rights inherent in that statement also favors it, so we're not going to hear "George Bush is not a 'Conservative', Take Two" on this one, though I noticed the network pundits were still bringing up his alleged "Compassionate Conservatism" this weekend after having ignored it for the previous five-and--a-half years. The Tony Snow "heterosexual marriage as civil right" thing was bouncing around my cranium as well, though to be honest I'm not sure I will ever get that worked up over anything Snow spits up has to say, because, well, it's Tony Snow. (The absurd notion that Tony Snow was going to make a difference as Press Secretary because he wasn't Scott McClellan lasted, what? thirty six hours?)

So maybe I wasn't in the right frame of mind to listen to the CBS evening news. It's a rare event; I can't tell you the last time I watched network news. Maybe the week of 9/11. And I wasn't prepared for the CBS crew wagging its collective finger at me, but that's what happened, three stories in a row.

The first, naturally, was the big Canadian terrorist story. It was obvious right away that CBS had no real interest in any details when flights of fancy could serve. As a graphic illustrated the path from Canada to Bangladesh apparently taken by one suspect, Bob Shieffer intoned that this showed how easy it was to arrange an international terrorist hookup, despite the notable lack of one word of evidence showing the suspect had, in fact, made such a connection. The Toronto Star story which, by taking the odd tack of focusing on what's known about these terrorists has uncovered a laughable tale of teenaged delinquents with tundra for brains, was still hours away in real time and light-years away in professionalism.

(Really, anything's possible, but why would an actual radical Islam version of SPECTRE want to attack Canada? Did it occur to anyone to ask? )

After all this time, after all the dummy Orange Alerts and bald fabrications, not to mention a horribly botched invasion, what will it take to get professional journalists to consider for thirty seconds before they jump at something like this? It called for nothing more than ordinary skepticism, which ought to be available in spades these days, but still seems to be on the ration list. And this was followed by a report on stem-cell research at Harvard which took the "Here's a Controversy" approach to the story despite strong public acceptance and all sensible argument being on one side, and a shocking revelation that the VA "identity theft" story now involved active-duty military personnel, a story which first broke 48 hours earlier and which was treated as the worst, most selfishly criminal exploitation of Our Troops ever exposed. Too bad one percent of that outrage has never been aimed at the people who sent those same soldiers into war on false pretenses. You just gotta wonder. Don't bad dreams cause most people to wake up?


Anonymous said...

If one assumes it's just a bad dream.

Anonymous said...

That there are doctors who would agree to go in after a not-ready-to-be-born-yet at the request of dimbulb parents who don't want him/her's birthday to be June 6, 2006 does not surprise me. But it boggles the mind anyhow.

Anonymous said...

I agree kathyr,, and also,, i hope that this idiotic move was initiated by the woman,, not some standing-on-the sidelines mate who jokes about it later to his friends,, who ask him,'Damn Ed, you really cut that freakin' cord?'