Tuesday, April 28, 2015

What a difference a network makes

It was difficult to see the violence and rioting that took place in nearby Baltimore, MD, yesterday, having visited the city many, many times over the course of 50 years.

As a usual WGAL-TV, Channel 8, viewer (which came from the days of old over-the-air television between VHF and UHF channels), I watched the NBC Nightly News at 6:30 p.m.

I thought they did an OK job covering the riots.  I didn't like the fact the network flew in their anchor, Lester Holt, to appear on a Baltimore street where fire damage occurred. It was not in good taste to also have their "chief political expert" Chuck Todd there to give his view of the mayor's major political test about her response to the riots.  At this point in time, who cares what the political ramifications are?

At 7 p.m., I switched channels and, for the first time in years, watched the CBS Evening News.

My God, was I impressed. First, anchor Scott Pelley was in the CBS News headquarters studio as usual.

Second, the "sound bites" that CBS had of President Obama's talk about Baltimore's event during a news conference were completely different than the ones presented by NBC, and had more meaning, and a more serious message.

Third, CBS found the mother who was videotaped grabbing her son from the demonstrators, ripping off his mask, slapping him for being there and forcing him to go home. Not only did CBS producers find her, but had an in-depth talk which they aired, and for the first time I felt there really are concerned parents in Baltimore.

All in all, CBS had a more in-depth, more truthful presentation of what was going on. And CBS News did not take side-tracks about politics or opinions or take an attitude that they knew the answers to everything.

There is no doubt which of these two networks was more truthful and responsible.

By the way, the NBC outlet in Baltimore, WBAL-TV, continued their own live coverage of the Baltimore situation which they had been doing all day, and did not carry the NBC Nightly News program.  To their credit, they made the right choice not do.  NBC's coverage wasn't worth much.



Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Gyrocopter is the story? Really?

Here is a real good example of just how shallow our news media organizations are, from "top" network news right down to the local stations and newspapers.

Douglas Hughes was the pilot of a gyrocopter who flew the aircraft from Gettysburg Regional Airport onto the U.S. Capitol's west lawn yesterday (4/15/15) and has been charged with operating an unregistered aircraft and violating restricted airspace. 

Now, we have seen dozens of stories about Hughes and his adventure -- which he publicly claimed he would do --and how he came in undetected in what is some of the most restricted airspace in the country.

Let's get real, folks. The government is never going to be able to put so tight a security seal on some of our agencies that nothing would penetrate. These breaches will happen.

But, alas, our news reporters are going to continue on an intense zeal to press for answers to how to stop such a low flight, and what if that..., and what if this..., and more what-ifs, keeping our security personnel on a constant run to come up with answers to what really is a ridiculous dog-chase-tail scenario.

In the meantime, after one mention in the original stories, these so-called searchers for truth have already left go of what the pilot's original intention was: to bring one letter for each federal legislator to ask for campaign finance reform to make our election process fair to all before it's too late to stop the current multi-million, non-accountable efforts that are legal today.

Therein lies the most important kernel of the whole incident. Most important because what Hughes was trying to present to all of us that our right to a free and fair election of our representative is seriously compromised.  

So, what is more important to you: The fact that a man successfully broke through a secure area and we need to fix it, or that your only representative to make laws you must obey was paid for by big-money contributors to push their own agendas and ignores your needs?

It would be some nice to see some reporters wake up and take hold of the issue and begin exposing it, peeling it back layer by layer to expose what the "campaign finance reform" is really about and the need to fix it fast.