Archive for October 16th, 2009

balloon-colorado-4_1503163cThis morning, for the first time in a long time, I was pleased with the coverage my local newspaper gave a story.  It was the story of a possible lost child and  a weather balloon of sorts.  As a local story, it had some interesting aspects.  As a national story it deserved no more attention than a small report in the back of the paper or a short line or two on the crawl across the bottom of the television screen.

My local paper got it right.  Just a few paragraphs and a picture on the back of one  section.  No big deal.

The national press,  however, went insane yesterday and gave us positive proof that they have no self control, no will to vet a story for its value on a national stage.  Yesterday afternoon, all of the 24/7 news outlets devoted hours of coverage to this story, following this ridiculous balloon every step of the way.  Interviews with neighbors.  Interviews with people from Wife Swap, the reality TV show on which the family had appeared.  An endless rundown of the father’s life.

Hours and hours.  All the other news swept aside by this stupid, silly balloon story.

The NBC Evening News opened with the story and devoted nearly 5 minutes of their 20 -22 minutes to it.  With everything that is going on in the world, they devote the first quarter of their show to a little boy hiding in his attic and his irresponsible father’s supposed runaway balloon.  This is the level that we’ve come to expect from those who bring us our news and information.

It’s infuriating.  The other night Jon Stewart, on The Daily Show,did a segment on CNN‘s devotion to fact-checking a Saturday Night Live skit as compared to the way they do absolutely no fact-checking on the talking heads who come on their shows and spout off numbers to back their causes.  It made me realize how totally unqualified the hosts on these shows are to really be able to interview any of their guests with any depth or comprehension.  Stewart is a comedian on a faux news show and is eminently more qualified and better prepared  than most, if not all, of these Barbies and Kens.  They almost always end their interviews with the most cogent questions dangling there, waiting to be asked.  No real info can be extracted when they haven’t a clue what they’re talking about.

And then it’s off to a car chase in El Segundo…

If you’d like to see Jon Stewart’s segment, click here.

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