Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Goodbye

Unfortunately and sadly, the news media has become part of the news.
    Like it or not, the media's actions -- print, television, radio and digital -- have thrust it into the limelight. And we all know that light is exposing a lot of dark muck.
    So, many of the opinions of YorkPaUSA.com in news in general has been involving the media.
    Rather than duplicate opinions in both blogs, "MediaMuddle" is shutting down and our emphasis will be on the other editorial blog.
    Thanks for your readership and we hope that you will view our other blog which also links from our home page of YorkPaUSA.com!
     Wishing you good health, good fortune, and clear skies for all time!
 

Friday, April 17, 2020

Skew by omission

I don't think it's just me. If so, call me crazy.
     But did you notice the constant rising of new cases. The TV "reporters" keep adding up the figures to determine the total number of cases in the state, and by county.
    They do that with the death toll too. True, the number will never dwindle. It'll keep going higher. But it's the only figure the news media is giving you that is completely accurate.
    Have any of the media told you the number of discharges or people who were treated successfully that taking place each day? I haven't seen any numbers.
     As the number of new cases keeps bumping the total higher, when have you seen the actual number of cases currently being treated in hospitals???
    Those numbers, of course, would be lower and not as scarier as the total cases reported.
    Always take the scary ones, the emotional ones, the ones that will grab the headlines and bump the ratings. To hell with the rest.
    To hell with the actual truth. That'd be boring.
    And once again I ask you: Where has actual journalism gone to?
 

Monday, April 13, 2020

Snubbing the president

WGAL-TV, Channel 8, is happy and anxious to tell you, to remind you, and to remind you again, that it is the source of trusted news in the Susquehanna Valley.
    Through incessant self-indulgent commercials, the station pounds away at its viewers with claims of awards, the "best" coverage, a staff of "investigative" reporters, etc., etc., etc., and so one, and more.
    This station has expanded its "coverage" of the news from what used to be the usual 1/2-hour of local origin, five times as much ... 2-1/2 hours consistent starting at 4 p.m. and ending at 6:30 p.m.
    BUT, it's not 2-1/2 hours of different stories. Instead it's programmed as the News at 4, the News at 4:30, the News at 5, the News at 5:30, and the News at 6, with stories repeated through each newscast.  To spice it up a little, not all the facts of a story are presented at once, and then the viewer is teased that they'll get a little bit more information at the next newscast, to keep you viewing without a break.
    To rub a little for salt into the wound, the stories are presented as "breaking news," when it is no more than a brief update of an ongoing story. The pandemic story, as an example, broke over 1-1/2 months ago. There's nothing "breaking" about it in general.
    I present that picture of the station's activity because of what has started happening now. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the White House has been holding coronavirus update conferences each day. We all know that Donald Trump is not a seasoned politician and he presents things in a different way.
     So the station now goes to the White House for the start of the news conference and, if Trump begins to "drift" a little from the main subject, the station cuts away, telling you that it switched the news conference coverage to one of its subchannels so it can focus on the important breaking news in the station's coverage area and forgo the viewers getting bored.
     What follows is repeats of the same stories it's been re-hashing for days. The only thing "breaking" are the new numbers of new cases and the number of deaths. It thinks it is a big deal, like giving ball scores from sports events. And the viewers are getting bored anyway.
     There is noone that hasn't heard about media bias toward the current president of the United States. And here is channel 8, feeding that argument for what? If they were cutting off a new conference because they only had a half-hour slot, or a one-hour slot for local news, that could be understandable.
     But its anchors and reporters are whining away for 2-1/2 hours straight with stories that actually could have been compressed into a time slot of less than an hour.
     I, personally a middle-of-the-road slightly conservative person, am taking offense at this activity.
 

Saturday, April 4, 2020

The Hypocrisy of the media

Aaaah, the hypocrisy of the news media.
    Anyone watching the morning "news" shows on network television caught a good glimpse of how politically skewed they are.
    They took President Donald Trump to task for saying he probably won't wear a mask when greeting foreign dignitaries, because he doesn't think it's appropriate.
    Yet, there the correspondents are, in Washington and New York and elsewhere, not wearing masks either when producing their reports on air. At least one reporter had her mask under her chin.
    I would guess that they feel it inappropriate to allow us to see them behind masks for their reports.
    Kind of the same thing, don't you think?
    Once again, the media shows its true colors of politics.
    Whatever happened with actual reporting? Comments and opinions are NOT reporting the news.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Time to ID some political ad sponsors

WGAL-TV, Channel 8, touts that they are fact-checking political stories and political ads as the heat of the 2020 general elections begin to warm up.
    Yet, they have yet to identify the source of one of the prolific political ads already being run on its station the past few weeks.
    The commercial shows a Pennsylvania truck driver who says he voted for Trump in the 2016 election, but is disheartened how Trump has acted since taking over the White House.
    The trucker says he hasn't seen improvement in the economy in his home county of Wayne, and feels Trump it only out for Trump.
     Well the commercial was produced by American Bridge PAC (Identified very quickly at the end of the commercial in small bottom-screen type).
    "American Bridge 21st Century is a liberal super PAC that conducts opposition research to aid Democratic candidates and organizations," writes FactCheck.org
The group changed its name to AB PAC in late 2019.
    "The group was founded in November 2010 by David Brock, a conervative turned liberal activist," the organization writes. "Bradley Beychock is a co-founder of the super PAC and serves as the group’s president." 
    FactCheck.org continues, "As a super PAC, American Bridge can accept unlimited donations and is largely funded by major Democratic donors and labor unions. As of Dec. 31, 2019, the PAC had raised $13.4 million in the 2019-2020 election cycle, according to the Federal Election Commission.
    "The largest donors in the 2020 cycle, as of Feb. 3 have been Deborah Simon, daughter of the late property developer Melvin Simon, who had contributed $2 million; philanthropist and academic Marsha Laufer, who had contributed $1.2 million; Phillip Ragon, CEO and founder of the technology company InterSystems, who also had given $1.25 million; and Simon’s sister,  Samerian Foundation Chairwoman Cynthia Simon Skjodt, has contributed $1 million to the PAC," FactCheck.org reported.
    So, the next time you see this commercial, remember who is presenting  this argument to you. And it is not a group dedicated to fairness or truth.
 

Friday, January 24, 2020

R.I.P., Jim Lehrerr

Veteran journalist Jim Lehrer has passed away. He was the co-founder of the PBS news hour many years ago, and was highly regarded by many in the news field, including me.
    He is one of the last journalists who separated fact from opinion when presenting his reports.
    "I am NOT in the entertainment business," he said. And he was right.
    The quality and purity of true journalism  has declined that it lies in the quagmire of what was backyard gossip and opinion. Of persuasion instead of reporting.
    It certainly isn't the quality of the profession I enjoyed when working in it full time.
    Rest in peace, Jim Lehrer. You will not be forgotten.
 

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

No, Lester Holt is NOT a news anchor

Walter Cronkite was a true journalist, a real TV anchor, and editor of his nightly news broadcast. So were many others, including Chet Huntley and David Brinkley. But that's not the case anymore.
     An anchor was what the word implied: an anchor, anchored in a newsroom, sometimes in New York and other times in Washington, D.C. They relied on a network of reporters worldwide, who gathered the information, put it together for a piece of the airtime their anchor afforded to it.
     A recent promotional spot aired by NBC (recent to me, it may have been aired many times before and I just didn't see it) the network referred to Lester Holt as their “NBC Nightly News” anchor.
     That made me think about the structure of the broadcast news organizations today.
     Lester Holt is not an anchor in the true sense of the term. I would bet he isn't even the editor-in-charge of the program's content. It shows how distorted and diluted the news has become overall.
     There was a day when the news was presented through the anchor by reporters on the scene, without opinion or slant, and left up to the viewers to make up their own minds about the information they are getting.
It was a direct reflection of the guidelines of earlier newspapers: News presented “without fear or favor, bias or prejudice.”
     Now I must admit the newspapers, even the largest of them, have been constantly violating those principles over the last decade. Even if the stories presented were on facts alone without the interjected opinions, quips and odd looks by the reporters, newspapers and television have slanted their coverage by omitting and ignoring covering some stories.
     It is a sad day for dedicated journalists such as myself. Because, as a retired journalist, I see how stories or ignored, and others skewed to direct the readers/viewers opinions to a pre-determined judgment that may or may not be accurate or true.
     If you don't believe me, record a television newscast, put all the words into writing. The, strike out all the “descriptive” and opinionated words that are not actual facts and see what you have left. The half-hour broadcast would be reduce to less than 10 minutes.
     The rest is opinion terms, sometimes mostly uninformed and inaccurate predictions of what would happen next, and statements how good or bad people should feel about what happened.
     Back to the original focus of this editorial.
     Lester Holt is NOT a news anchor. He IS a corporate showboater. NBC flies him and a crew to the scene of a developing story they think will highlight point of view to be promoted later. Besides the fact that officials have to spend time and support (funded by your tax money of course) to a crew for TV coverage that could have been better spent taking care of the event, it appears to demonstrate to viewers that the network doesn't really believe their local level reporter cannot handle the coverage they are paid to do, or just plain showboating to the public to try to get higher viewer ratings which, in turn, of course, translates to getting more money for commercials.
    Either way, officials should not be cooperating in providing and supporting a “glamorus production” of a broadcast by any network. They should give reporters the facts, of course, but not assisting in a production.
     No, Lester Holt is NOT a new anchor. He IS a showboater. The true facts of the news are buried beneath the haze and sour smell of the show coating.
     If the other news “anchors” and going on scene on the other networks, then they fit into the same category.
     So, a word of advice to you: Do NOT believe everything you are hearing and seeing on the network news shows. It doesn't have the credibility of true factual news content anymore.