Today, I bring you an interesting article, verbatim by Mitch Potter, Washington Bureau news reporter for the Toronto Star, entitled, 'Tragic Cleveland saga often descended into voyeuristic media farce driven by ‘vanity’, Coverage of the Cleveland missing women, like the Sandy Hook massacre and Boston bombing, saw many journalistic mistakes made for the sake of being first.' My response is below with room for your comment below that, unless you prefer to send an email but please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack others personally, and keep your language decent.
It was another week of breaking news breaking bad. First it was the three Brothers Evil in Cleveland, or so everyone thought. Until a day later, when the supposedly Unholy Trinity melted away as two siblings stumbled off the stage, exonerated. And the hot glare of suspicion settled instead on Ariel Castro alone.
Then there was the saga of Charles Ramsey, the McDonald’s-munching, door-kicking saviour of Seymour Ave., a viral sensation for 48 hours, until a fresh round of muckrakery by The Smoking Gun unpacked Ramsey’s own troubled past.
The revelation of Ramsey as a repeat domestic abuser stirred wild debate of its own, not least for its powerful message to never do the right thing lest your own personal baggage be displayed before the world.
Yet even those arguments began to cave amid new reports that Ramsey came late to the rescue party and that it was another neighbour altogether, Angel Cordero, who kicked in the door, bringing a tortuous decade of confinement and assault to an end. Cordero would have gone viral but for the click-limiting fact he speaks only Spanish.
Scott Pelley, the CBS News anchor, summed it all up with a self-incriminating screed at Quinnipiac University Friday, adding up the mountain of mistakes, from the massacre in Newtown to the bombings in Boston to Cleveland, as evidence that journalism’s house is on fire.
“We’re getting the big stories wrong over and over again,” said Pelley.
He railed against “vanity” and “self-conceit,” as the drivers of a real-time scramble to be first with any new crumb of information, often lifted without scrutiny from the uncorroborated pages of social media.
Twitter, Facebook and Reddit, said Pelley, are “not journalism. That’s gossip. Journalism was invented as an antidote to gossip.”
It’s “a world where everybody is a publisher, no one is an editor, and we’ve arrived at that point today.”
Yet there at more still grievous dimensions to the horrible revelations in Cleveland: the very unusual fact that the world learned (and published) the names of the three captive women first and only later, in graphic detail, the sheer extent of the sexual violence they were forced to endure.
The Cleveland story came with a built-in broken rule, a very big one, that journalists not publish the names of those subjected to rape. By week’s end some news outlets sought solace in reminding readers they at least scaled the ethical bar by not naming the 6-year-old girl born in captivity as others had.
“What is especially awful about the Cleveland story is that the victims were in effect victimized a second time: first, the gigantic misfortune of being kidnapped, then, the victimization of becoming part of a huge international news story,” said media analyst Robert Thompson.
“Breaking news has been around since the telegraph. But now it is breaking with previously unthinkable speed, from the first 911 call, which rings like an invitation to satellite trucks around the country to ‘Come ye all to Cleveland.’ ”
Thompson, director of Syracuse University’s Bleier Centre for Television and Popular Culture, said journalism’s “muddle” is fast becoming everyone’s muddle now that everyone is a journalist.
“All these misreported stories, from the Boston bombings on down, are a call for making media literacy a part of basic public education in the 21st century, alongside reading, writing and arithmetic,” he said.
“Basic rules need to taught, not only on consuming media but how people themselves use media in these completely democratized ways. And that would include a sense of ethics, even if you are not a professional journalist.”
Thompson calls the rush of TV trucks to Cleveland “the original sin,” arguing that, while the emerging story “was big and terrible, on a completely rational level one can argue it’s a local story.
“But the decision to cover Cleveland more than anything else now is dictated not by journalistic standards but the audience itself. The option of TV news bosses to make decisions based on anything but the corporate bottom line of maximizing audience and income stream is now almost impossible,” said Thompson.
Cleveland unfolded with some checks and balances in the struggle between almost voyeuristic infotainment versus info-containment. Nancy Grace, who lives and breathes overwrought true-crime scandal at Headline News took a reputational walloping as she feasted on the latest news from Seymour Ave., while simultaneously covering the verdict of the Jodi Arias murder trial in Phoenix.
Lizz Winstead, co-creator of The Daily Show, signalled that Grace was in for the full Jon Stewart treatment when she tweeted, “Seriously. This week is like Christmas Morning everyday for a tragedy muncher like Nancy Grace.”
The next night, Stewart rounded on Grace in his opening segment, eviscerating her as an “engorged tragedy tick” feeding with sadistic glee on human suffering. For the Bleier Centre’s Thompson, media looking for a high road in the midst of the breaking-news muddle need to think in terms of “reputational branding.”
“It’s not meaningless to choose to avoid publishing names of sexual assault victims, even when the general public already knows — and shares — those names,” he said. “The JFK era of breaking news is over. But the values of accuracy, care and caution are not.
“If journalism’s great calling is to provide information for the greater good — something we all believed in as we went to journalism school — it has to adapt. And quickly.”
Mitch Potter's article above speaks to the looming information disaster we are facing while the shift from quality journalism to quick and dirty gossip is well underway. It is hardly a secret that certain media coverage is partly responsible for the political fix we are in, be it the Obama Democrats in Washington or the Wynne Liberals in Ontario, when messaging is too often drowned out by coverage of hype and hubris instead of control over our debt and deficits.
at a local manufacturing business
Specifically, these media lackeys have done their best to push Ontario taxpayers into a box, because all they say is, 'the PC's are only concerned with is balancing the budget and cutting spending and taking things away from people,' when all along, what the PC's are trying to say is that the Ontario taxpayer wants to control spending in order to grow local manufacturing and re-energize the opportunity machine of Ontario.
To rise above these folks, has the time has come for Tim to let the taxpayer know what he going to do for that assistant manager of a fast food restaurant?
were convicted of murdering her!
Has the time has come for Tim to say what is he going to do for single moms who are waking up in Scarborough this morning and facing the fact that their kids are going to schools that can’t even provide a safe place for these mothers to leave their kids, let alone get an education?
Has the time has come to craft a more appealing political message, most notably in relation to minority voters calling for more substantive engagement with minority communities who came to our country seeking safety from tyranny?
Has the time come for Tim to soften the party’s economic message, considering that it appears it’s easier for Andrea Horwath of the New Democrats to sell a message about personal irresponsibility than it is for Tim to sell a vision of personal responsibility and fiscal discipline that would drive economic growth?
Granted, Tim has taken some steps necessary to maintain his commitment to fiscal discipline so vital to economic growth but now Tim needs to speak for the people who, frankly, may have begun to turn off because they don’t feel Tim has an agenda that speaks to them.
The PC's are all about giving people opportunity but this message won't resonate until Tim Hudak takes the lead with effective media messaging after shouldering much of the blame for the party’s failure to capture Queen's Park in last election, after pre-election polls had him ahead.
Tim must do a better job of speaking to the concerns of people at the lower rungs of the economic ladder if the PC's are to win the coming election. Regardless of what certain media lackeys have up their sleeves, Tim needs to let folks know what his agenda this year is all about.
@write_stuff_2 bio at http://about.me/brianweller email@example.com twitter chatter....
Why are some psuedo-writers getting the big storie...
http://bigdaddyharley09.blogspot.com/2013/05/why-are-some-psuedo-writers-getting-big.html?spref=tw … will journalism triumph?