Monday, May 02, 2005

Pretty Rich White Girls Who May Be Victims of Violence Always Trumps Wars on the News

Upon entering my parent's home on Friday night, I ended my "Turn of TV Week Fast", which was more like a "eat less meat" fast than full vegan fast.

I was greeted on the evening news by something called "Missing Bride." I switched channels to all of the 24 Hour News Channels and saw her picture along with interviews with her husbands father and other reactions.

Sadly, my first thought was, "this happens all the time but the only reason this is on TV is because she is pretty, rich and her family has access to lots of media outlets." This was a larger non-story than any of the other non-stories I had seen during the past few years. I looked at my wife and said, "She ran away."

I could see the newscasters praying for some ransom note, white bronco with a black guy driving and a girl that looked like her in the passenger seat, a sexual predator in the neighborhood or a weak alibi by her fiance (too bad he was not fishing during her jog) who really killed her so he could marry a blond. The last thing they wanted or even thought about was, "maybe she got cold feet and this is absolutely no story except for the gossip page in the local newspaper."

Of course, I woke up Saturday morning to the news that she had ran away. I had to turn to Fox News to see how the Fair and balanced network would spin this. Here they are in front of her family home talking about anything they could think of (in other words- Nothing). It was great.

They talked about trumped up police charges, which the Duluth DA wants to pursue since they are embarrassed. They got themselves an interview with her fiance on Sean Hannity (what this has to do with politics I will never know- except for the Bush sticker on his bumper when the fiance was driving away) to talk about nothing remotely important. And people will watch.

This would have never happened before Fox. I promise. What a waste of time and energy. Supposed journalists preempting news on the terrible violence in Iraq surrounding the new government, the change in ethics rules in the congress and the fights over filibustering and judicial nominees to tell us that some pretty brunette white girl in a rich suburb of Atlanta ran away from a wedding that had gotten out of hand.



james said...

Yes and yes...

The media should be ashamed of their lack of journalistic integrity. It almost seems as if they are trying to distract us (with things like the runaway bride) from the more important matters happening across the globe. I know the gov't would prefer this, and perhaps they have a participating role in it. I'm still fairly convinced that as long as reality television exists in the state that it is in, most Americans won't care about genecide, illegal wars or health care.

Reality television is the opiate of the masses.

Anonymous said...

I agree that this coverage of missing females (especially those who happen to be very attractive) is absolutely ludicrous (sp?). What about all the people murdered in the inner city? Obviously, there lives (and the lives of ugly people) are less important.

However, I'm not sure if Fox was the originator of this kind of coverage. "If it bleads, it leads" has been around for quite awhile, and CNN and MSNBC covered the Runaway Bride just as much as Fox did. None of these networks are fair and balanced. Michael of TN

james said...

I'm with you Mike...major network news coverage sucks...

sticking with NPR and "Democracy Now" for the time being...

kidpositive said...

i don't know if it's so much the fault of news organizations as it is the pathetic appetite americans seem to have for reality. americans don't ever seem to want be aware of real news unless that news has some sort of entertainment value to it. just like michael jackson and terri schiavo, it seems the only thing that drives news reporting these days is drama (now those "WE KNOW DRAMA" adds from TNT are popping up in my head). people just want to sit in front of their TVs and be absorbed in "real-life" drama, perhaps to numb them to the reality of the pathetic consumerism that has come to define their life. they just consume more, and the news & reality TV are just part of that diet.

just another step down the "slippery slope!"

james said...

To add to what you are saying kidpoz...and I hate to always cite one particular news organization, but so it goes...I think the popularity in the format of FOX News has influenced and pushed other News Stations towards similar methods.

As FOX became popular in the late 90's MSNBC and CNN have more or less had to follow suit in order to compete and stay afloat. MSN now has "Scarborough Country" when previously it did not. And CNN does a lot more of the Morning talk crap, featuring crap like "Britney's pregnant" and "Mariah Mania" (to celebrate another worthless album release from Ms Carey) among their top headlines.

kidpositive said...

no doubt. corporate news agencies suck as far as providing news goes. i believe it's mainly because news networks like FOX, CNN, and MSNBC only make money off of advertising. therefore, whatever attracts viewers is what's gonna be pushed, because that's what's gonna help them in their nielsen ratings and ultimately in their profits.

we unfortunately (fortunately?) don't have a TV right now, so i feel a bit removed from the sensationalism that is cable news. however, i just remember how freakin' dramatic they make everything out to be. i particularly remember the heinous "showdown in iraq" segments they'd play on cable news. i always thought it was interesting how they consistently managed to get an image of targeting crosshairs into the artwork they used to adorn the screen when they brought that segment up.

once you realize that cable news is just as much a business market as any other, then it's easy to understand why other news agencies would follow the lead of one's success. what's sad, and what should be disturbing to most of the pious christian right, is the fact that all this sensationalism on TV is much more endemic of a culture of depravity than any of the "values" issues they cry about all the time. a culture controlled by the emotional dictates of mass media is much sicker than one where the rare by-product is something like the schiavo incident. but of course, so much of our culture is addicted to emotional sensationalism that they'll never be able to realize this.