Thursday, May 19, 2005

The United States of Misinformation

The big news story in Utah at the moment:


No shitting here. Apparently this is dangerous because when it gets hot, all the hills are going to catch fire due to excess dry vegetation... which I suppose is newsworthy, but the headline still struck me as amusing.

I watched CNN when I got into the country in the hopes of finding out the results of the UK General Election. To my surprise and delight, CNN actually covered the story! Their reporting detailed that:
1. Tony Blair's Labour Party had won an historic third term in government
2. Mr. Blair promised in a victory speech to prioritise domestic affairs this term
Er... is that all? What about the results of the other main parties? The reduced Labour majority? International implications of this victory? Even the implications to the US of this victory? But no, they were on to the next Big Story: It's Mother's Day in a Few Days. Are there not, perhaps, more important stories to be covering? Yes: their headline story, President Bush Tours Europe.

A brief rundown of CNN coverage that day:
1. Dubya tours Europe for 60th anniversary of VE (approx 60 secs of coverage)
2. Ambiguous suspicion of preparation for nuclear testing in North Korea (approx 30 secs)
3. UK General Election, including Dubya's failure to make a statement yet (approx 20 secs)
4. Mother's Day, including useless statistics on American expenditure for same (approx 2 mins)
5. Recruitment boom indicates regrowth of American economy (approx 30 secs)
Then it was all repeated, over and over. I watched it five times, hoping they would get past the headlines to some story development or in-depth analysis. Some hope.

If reporting is consistently sacrificed to ratings, and an entire news network dedicated to ADHD-style "news in brief" headline-loops, is it any wonder this country is so out of touch and backward regarding foreign, and many internal, policies?


(See also:


[N.B. This post is copied almost verbatim from one I made in the forums, because I am an uninspired wanker.]


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