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Lilypie Kids birthday Ticker
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Just the Facts, Please
Over the last few years, I’ve become one of those people who get the majority of their information on current events from the Internet. I still read newspapers and watch the local and national news, but I usually find they aren’t telling me anything I didn’t read online days before, particularly on a national level.

I’ve come to rely on the newspaper to keep up on what business are opening or closing in the area, a few comic strips, local restaurant reviews, and stories that involve my school or students. As I like to remind my students, if I see their names in the paper, I hope it’s because they’ve excelled and not because they’ve been arrested or in an accident. The local television news serves pretty much the same purpose, but add weather information to the list.

If a typical 30 minute news show is actually 20 minutes of programming, then there’s about 5 minutes of information that I find valuable. The other 15 minutes drives me insane.

When did tabloid coverage become so acceptable in news? It’s been gradual over the years, but lately it’s become so bad that it’s almost unbearable.

One story that is all over the Internet, newspapers, national, and local news is the story about baby shampoos. They all led with the point that a certain chemical was found when babies were tested immediately following a bath, shampoo, or lotion application. When you went past the lead, the story was there wasn’t enough information to show cause and effect. Is this a story?

Can’t you see this commercial? A meteor is heading straight for Earth. Details at 11. When you tune in, the anchor continues by stating that it will miss by seven billion miles. It’s the same story. Begin with an inflammatory lead, and then follow up by saying it won’t affect anyone.

Now I don’t know about the dangers of baby shampoo and lotion, there may be a real story there, but it sure isn’t being reported. I’m willing to bet that thousands, if not more, people don’t ever listen to the rest of the story. They’re now panicking at the thought that giving their baby a bath is going to cause them some physical harm.

Another example of the tabloid mentality that has hit the news occurred a few days ago on our local station. One of their new reporters has definitely been too influenced by tabloid journalism. She overly dramatizes every single story she reports. A local soldier returned home recently and met his newborn son for the first time. The story made the news because he was home on leave due to his son’s illness. The baby is hospitalized. This story is enough on its own merit to tug at your heartstrings. She ends her report by stating how much the boy resembles his father using William Shatner’s delivery method. Her word choices and method of delivery seem to imply that there was doubt about the child being fathered by the soldier. I do not believe that was her intention. She was just going for the melodrama.

And I guess that’s my point. Why do we have to have melodrama? Isn’t life dramatic enough on its own without adding this false hype? Just give me the facts, please.



Blogger Kate said...

I saw that last night, and had a similar mental tantrum. We already know that there are realistic risks with every step we take - we don't need to come up with new and scarier ones. Real life is intense enough.

Blogger Sandra said...

I agree 100%!

Blogger Tammie said...

Right there with you! Try the news down here in S FL. Now that's a real treat!

I agree! I made a point to keep watching the news to find out about the baby products. Waste of time! Don't even get me started on hearing about Britney every time I blink!

Blogger i-Con said...

Ditto! Why does everything have to be so inanely sensational anymore?

Blogger Three P's in a Pod said...

Amen sista!


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