Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Media skews true activities of hearings

channel-surfed and came across one of the C-Span channels Thursday night and watched a major portion of the U.S. House Government Oversight Committee's hearing with the IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, the only witness called.

It turned out to be another great example of the ineptness, arrogance, and power-hungry attitude of the members of Congress.  It was also funny to watch how the news media covered the hearing Friday morning. That, too, shows the ineptness of our so-called "fair" media outlets.

The hearing displayed the contentious feelings between the Republicans and Democrats themselves, demonstrated to the point that members of the committee from both parties asked for fairness and for basic House rules be followed. The hearing demonstrated how pleas for fairness go unheeded and how a witness can be manhandled and abused, all in what at least the committee members think is a way to get to the truth.

The truth is, they don't know how to get the truth and they don't care about the truth.

The truth is, especially when media members and cameras are present, each side wants to come off looking like they are the better people. The truth is, the members of both sides of the isle came off looking like buffoons.

To sum it up, the whole public hearing is another typical political dog and pony show. It's the art of perception, which politicians are real good at and news media members (most not worth their salt) eat up. The politicians try to appear that they are getting something done when actually nothing at all is getting done.

The final perception to any ordinary citizen watching the actual hearing is that this is a whole waste of time to take care of business -- though it is valuable time for politicians to make an ass of themselves.

The media, of course, grabbed a lot of good "sound bites" of vicious argumentative statements and exchanges to make it look like the committee was really onto something and beating the crap out of the IRS, figuratively speaking. But what the media didn't report was the internal bickering and arguments between the committee members themselves.

All in all. it was another good example of why the ordinary citizens like us have such a low rating of Congress -- and politicians in general -- and how the media skews the information in order to present the best in drama which, in turn, translates into viewer ratings which, in turn, brings in advertisers so the media outlet can make more money.

You want to investigate the IRS problem? Get a professional investigator and let him/her use their skills to quietly get to the truth and then present the results to the committees. Saves a whole lot of hot air and buffoonery.

No wonder our country is going to Hell in a hand-basket and the speed is picking up.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

It's sad - Print journalism declining

On Monday, the publisher of local newspaper hosted a dinner for the entire staff in order to say goodbye to almost one-third of them, who accepted buyouts as the newspaper tries to remain solvent.

It's all part of a messy situation involving a federal Joint Operating Agreement with another newspaper here, and yet all are operating under one corporate umbrella.

The sad part of it is that the newspaper's print circulation has been rising as it began to go head-to-head with the other daily as a morning newspaper.  But it is the "outcast" of the corporate structure and it is paying for all the bad decisions and visions of the corporate airheads.

As the publisher sadly pointed out, across the United States the number of journalists has declined by 30 percent. That's one-third less dedicated people to keep tabs on you government's agencies, and the pules of the community as well as the world.

Television journalism has very, very seldom been able to uncover the corruption that we all know exists in every level of government. TV depends on handouts, "spins" ... they often take what's fed them and run with it, sometimes showing the bias and, many times, not checking the facts.  After all, time is their enemy. They only have a limited amount of time to present what they want to present.

Sadly TV still remains the opiate of society.

Then you have newspapers that have consolidated operations and use pre-set layouts which use enlarged photos -- often "fluffy" stuff -- to fill the precious little news space left in a newspaper. Little space because of cutting back on paper  because of the expenses and, now many letting the print side of journalism swinging in the wind to concentrate on that little device everyone carries around in their pocket to provide news.

As little as Web space costs, in relation to newsprint, there is little in-depth investigative work going on and even less being made available to the readers.

All of this mess wrapped up shows a society that is not really fully informed, is given a lot of biased opinions, and are urged to give knee-jerk reactions to stories even before all the facts are in place.

As a journalist, I am very, very saddened over how things are declining in the field of journalism.  And those people I meet every day that say they love to have that newspaper in their hands may end up alone.  There are many people out there who do not like being tied to a little electronic device and treated as if they are the robot, and the device is the authority.

I sure hope there is a turn-around sometime before the corporate fat-cats cut off the true  symbol of journalism because the can't make enough profits to make their pockets fatter.