Sunday, June 19, 2005

Conscientious Objector

Uh, yeah, this entry will serve as my official -- first and final -- letter of resignation to the mainstream media: I'm no longer (and haven't been for quite some time) a member of your audience.

It's not just the hard-hitting story in today's Washington Post about those dreaded, world-threatening, Christian-crumbling, tyranny-inspiring "Africanized bees" spotted in Arkansas, it's the basic cumulative effect you've had on me over the years with your ridiculous dance around imporant stories and issues, and your hackneyed attempts at "infotainment" that has had all the stimulating effect on me of Dan Rather -- dressed as "Gunga Dan" -- jumping out of a cake.

If I had a subscription to The Washington Post, I would cancel it today.

Do you know what one of the highest "honors" in journalism is? The Edward R. Murrow award. The same Edward R. Murrow who wrote and hosted a television documentary in the late 1950s debunking claims that cigarette smoking was harmful to peoples' health. The same Edward R. Murrow who smoked his ass off right on network TV and died of lung cancer in the early 1970s.

I'll never forget watching the horrifying coverage of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center buildings on ABC. As images of the smoldering twin towers stood grim on the TV screen, Peter Jennings rambled through some off-the-cuff commentary that bordered on the bizarre and fantastical. Dig through the coverage on video, if you have it, and you'll find it -- Jennings actually surmises aloud that possibly the two planes striking the two Trade Center buildings may have been independent acts of two different lone nuts. I'm not joking. Peter Jennings wondered aloud if possibly the attack was the work of two lone nuts working independently of one another, who somehow coincidentally chose the same day, target, time, and mode of attack. I heard this with my own ears -- Jennings attempting to pave the way for a new Warren Commission Report, if the need should arise. This is what passes for journalism in North America.

This outrage is peer to Dan Rather's similarly ridiculous reporting about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Dan Rather was not only in Dealey Plaza at the time of the assassination, he was actually standing on the overpass looking down onto the assassination scene. He could not have had a more comprehensive vantage point. While more than two dozen people standing near and around Rather reported hearing shots coming from the grassy knoll area to the front, right of the presidential limousine, all Rather could report was how the presidential limousine jumped the curb -- alerting sharp-eyed Rather than something was amiss -- when the shots rang out. By now, tens of millions of people have seen the Zapruder film of the assassination. No matter what you believe occurred in Dealey Plaza that day, there's no question that the presidential limousine did not leave the roadway, did not jump the curb, or otherwise swerve.

On viewing the Zapruder film for the first time in the mid-1960s, Dan Rather reported that it showed President Kennedy clearly being thrown forward. Again, regardless of what you believe happened in Dealey Plaza that day -- and I have read and watched countless accounts -- no one, and I mean no one, except Dan Rather has ever described the president being thrown forward.

Dan Rather titled his autobiography The Camera Never Blinks. However, it sure appears his conscience often did.

Tom Brokaw merely led the league in banality. For his years in journalism, did Brokaw ever break a big story? Not to my knowledge, but I certainly could be wrong. No, Tom Brokaw made the world safe for General Electric with his muttering, stumbling delivery that always left me mystified how the man could win such a coveted position on network television. Further evidence that I simply was not the audience of mainstream news.

Note to Chris Matthews: the microphone you use on air is intended to amplify your voice so that the audience can hear you -- YOU DON'T NEED TO SHOUT!

Note to CNN from Matt St. Amand circa 1999:
I am a Canadian citizen living nearly two years in Ireland. While at home in Ontario during Christmas of 1998 I had occasion to watch CNN and saw an advertisement about its coverage of world events. It involved a stirring classical score and a collage of images from around the world. And what absolutely offended, outraged me and ruined my day was that you would show a photograph of Saddam Hussein standing by a window, smiling, and that your image of Ireland was the Irish flag draped over a coffin.

That is outrageous, coming from a company based in the most violent country on earth. I moved to Ireland because it is the most civilized, cultured and humane country on the map. It even beats Canada, and that's hard to do.

I'm sure you cut-and-paste media drones only care about "maximum impact", but CNN (already lowly and direputable in my estimation) fell to an all new low.

Shame on you.

Watch your own newscasts and count how many coffins are being carried down the steps of your precious church-houses. Your "kids killing kids" and all of that.

Your ignorance is woeful and inexcusable.

As for Fox News, I have no comment or complaint about it. Does this mean I agree with Fox News and think it's a worthy source of information? Not at all. Fox News falls into the same category as Suzanne Sommers' "thigh master" infomercials, or those telephone psychics, or ads for plastic workout suits. They all contain about the same ratio of bullshit : truth as each of the others.

Not even the weather network can be trusted. Do you remember a few years ago they were hyping a winter storm, employing all the feigned drama and self-importance of a CNN correspondent reporting from the Michael Jackson trial? The massive winter storm never materialized, and there was some question in the media as to whether a deliberate attempt had been made to bump up ratings by "sexing up" weather reports.

Cavort, comment, deflect, and ramble on you ridiculous talking heads -- and worthless print journalists (Christ, Mitch Albom writing sports articles about games before they've even been played?!?! Is this idiot Nostradamus or something?!), I am no longer a member of your audience. I quietly, respectfully, and completely opt out.


RossK said...

I fear that you have done a great disservice to the 'thigh master' empire by comparing it to the best that Roger Ailes has to offer.

Re: The Weather Channel - as a prelude, if I'm not mistaken, some of Hunter Thompson's best last third work was his slagging of a geek from the National Hurricane Service that regularly saturated the MSM airwaves, particularly Ted Koppel's show, in the mid/late 80's.

Jas... said...

Welcome to the club of normalcy, my friend. Here's your jacket. I stopped watching the news long ago, and that goes same for newspapers.