Monday, January 30, 2006

Our wonderful media (Llama)

A couple of items to complain about this morning...

After returning from Bangladesh Friday evening, I slid into my apartment, plopped my bags on the chair, slouched into a chair and turned on the tube. I had just spent more than an hour stuck in traffic (even though I had paid the extra 60 baht for the "expressway") and just wanted to calm my agitated mind down. So I flip over to VH1, and they are just beginning the "Big in '05" awards.

I've never heard of this, so I keep it on. The first award was for the big "it" girl. I don't know much of anything about Clara Bow, but wasn't she the original "it" girl? I'm pretty sure no one actually gave her a trophy for it... anyway, the nominees were Lindsy Lohan, Paris Hilton, Nicole Ritchie, and one or two others. Now this is where I start having issues. As they were going through the accomplishments of these women and why they were deserving of the title of "it" girl, both Lohan and Ritchie were praised for having lost weight. Neither of these women were remotely fat to begin with, but they showed before and after shots and, sure enough, both now seem to be emulating Paris as having the perfect body type. I always thought Lindsy Lohan was quite attractive as she was... now she looked anorexic... and this was being celebrated! Lindsy even won! Imagine, an award given out that actually legitimizes being fashionably unhealthy. To her credit, Lohan seemed to realize the absurdity of the award. She made some cynical comment about not being to lift the award because of all that weight she lost, and then thanked her fans, who really are the only ones that you can legitimately thank when you win what is really nothing more than a popularity contest.

The second award was for the big hookup. The winner was Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. After their victory was announced, one of the VH1 commentators, referencing Cruise's Oprah appearance where he jumped on the couch, stated that once Katie gives birth and has stretch marks on her belly and thighs that Tom won't have as much to jump around about. I found this to be about the most shallow comment I have ever heard in my life, and promptly turned the TV off. Ugh.

OK, so then this morning, as I'm getting ready for work, I turn on CNN. Wolf Blitzer is interviewing Benazir Bhuto about these Interpol notices. He asks her if she is afraid she'll be arrested because of the Interpol warrants. She corrects him and says that they are not warrants, they are notices that she is wanted in Pakistan but do not mandate that she is to be arrested internationally. Blitzer proceeds to ask the very next question by beginning "But these arrest warrents, or whatever you want to call them..." OK, Blitzer is a journalist. It's his job to report facts. There is no Interpol arrest warrrent for Bhuto. They are notices. I'm sure his staff is aware of this, I'm sure they informed him of this, and it's indisputable that he was just corrected on the air. So why is he still referring to the notices as warrants? Of course there are several plausible explanations, but none of them would be to fulfill his role as a journalist.

A little bit later he set up a trap for Bhuto. He asked her, if she were still President of Pakistan, what would she do differently to combat terrorism than Musharef has? She then responded by talking about going after the local tribal lords that rule parts of Pakistan, citing her record of doing just that in the 90s. Blitzer's follow up question was then, "So are you saying then that Musharef has not done everything he could to help combat terrorism?" In other words, Blitzer her to criticize Musharef's policies, Bhuto answered it directly, and then Blitzer accused her of criticizing of Musharef's policies.

I'm honestly coming to the opinion that TV news is utterly and completely useless. For reporting that is still driven by news, and not ratings, print seems to be the best (if imperfect) choice.


Tony S. said...

Dude, I'm far more towards the conservative end than you these days, and I feel the exact same way. It's a real sign of trouble when BOTH ends of the political spectrum see the same problem with the media.

kristybox said...

I've almost given up watching the news. I've even eased off listening to talk radio and NPR. Sigh. I miss it, but it's all too fluffy for me.

I'm also not into celebrities. The other day, I saw a cute, well-spoken actor on some old show Alan was watching. I said, "oh, I like that actor. What's his name." After Alan recovered for the shock, he blurted, "John Wayne?"

naughtyloki said...

Ahh. The Duke. Nothing says equality like slapping a female back. I like the way you think, kbox.

I haven't been able to watch the news since the Carter administration. I gave up reading it, for the most part, under Bush senior. I'm not exactly sure how much of this is due to a problem with the media and how much is due to a regression of maturity in myself.

I do dabble in electronic print media, on occasion, but quickly relearn my lesson by reading about FEMA people taking bribes and LA third-graders performing oral acts upon one another. (Hey, it's LA. The third-graders could be fourteen years old.) These stories didn't contain any inaccuracies that were readily apparent, but they did result in an unsafe rise in my blood pressure.

pacatrue said...

It seems like the media which is slightly removed from the immediate situation is usually the best. Even if it is just a few days after the event. It allows them to place the event in a little context, which only the best can do as events are happening. This typically means print media, but not always. I am a fan of the NPR weekly radio show called "On the Media". They aren't afraid to hammer someone during an interview. For instance, they did a nice job during the whole 60 Minutes Bush Texas Guard thing by both hammering the shoddy part of the reporting - and pointing out all the good reporting that was part of the story which was immediately forgotten in the rush to crucify Dan Rather. Similarly, the New Jersey (I think) governor a year or so ago came out as gay and abdicated office. While he was appearing on Oprah, being lionized for his bravery, there was a lot of evidence that he was a somewhat corrupt governor as well, finding work for lovers in a way that would never be accepted if he was straight. I like the show not because they present both sides of an issue in a he-said, she-said manner, but because they analyze both sides of an issue and ask useful questions.

Of course, you do sometimes lose understanding by only reviewing things intellectually after the fact. I didn't really see any TV or many pictures of Katrina, so I likely don't have any sense at all of what the situation was like.

My Word Verification was "erottxy". What do you get when you blend erotic and sexy?

Sammy Jankis said...

Now, Loki, you know that you get a great deal of your news from MSN's "News of the Wierd" link. You have to, because you're constantly telling me about "a story" you read.