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Media Hysteria


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#1 of 31 Allen Hirsch

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Posted October 19 2001 - 05:23 AM

It's one thing to cover the war in Afghanistan almost non-stop (that IS news, IMO), but the overblown, constant coverage of bio-terrorism has been largely irresponsibly done by the media. It seems it's taken AT LEAST a full week to start to get some useful perspective or rational treatment of the risks by the commentators and "experts".

I don't mind the speculation on military maneuvers, next steps, etc., anywhere near as much as the constant coverage and misreporting of the anthrax cases. IMO, the media has whipped this country into a frenzy and a paranoid state unlike any I've seen in my 48 years on this earth. Good grief - imagine just how many copycat cases and kooks have been inspired to duplicate (usually in hoax form) what's been reported since last week, thanks to the CONSTANT coverage and speculation.

The latest poll said almost 70% of Americans were scared to death they would contract anthrax!! My god - when we have, what - 6 cases of anthrax in the entire country, all but one treatable (the first one, the photo editor in FLA, is a casualty because nobody recognized it soon enough to treat it) - and only people in direct contact with the envelopes that had anthrax were even exposed. The chances of dying must be 1000 times higher, just driving to your local pharmacy for medication, than it is contracting a disease in the mail.

Remember, the only targets have been the media and the politicians. Why? Maximum exposure with minimum bio-weapons. IF Al Qaeda HAD the stuff to infect us all, do you think Bin Laden would play around like this and give us advance warning with a few isolated cases? (The 6000 folks at WTC sure had no warning) No, Bin Laden would have tried to infect us all at once with no warning, IF he had bio-weapons.

The country is full of Chicken Littles with no common sense to rationally respond to, or even analyze these events, it seems.


[Edited last by Allen Hirsch on October 19, 2001 at 01:09 PM]
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#2 of 31 Jack Gilvey

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Posted October 19 2001 - 06:37 AM

The media in this country borders on treasonous.

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#3 of 31 Jay Taylor

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Posted October 19 2001 - 07:12 AM

Rush Limbaugh pointed out that the reason the media is over reporting the anthrax situation is because it's happening to them.

If the only people exposed were farmers in Kansas there would be much more reasonable coverage.

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#4 of 31 BrianB

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Posted October 19 2001 - 07:14 AM

Quote:
The latest poll said almost 70% of Americans were scared to death they would contract anthrax!!

A friend's office was closed down last week with the FBI & fire brigade in attendence. The cause? Someone had spilled a pack of Altoid mints by accident on someone's computer keyboard... The white residue left over sent someone into a total panic...

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#5 of 31 Jack Briggs

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Posted October 19 2001 - 07:27 AM

Pretty soon, we're all going to be jumping at the sight of our own shadows. I think the media are essential, but when they are simply filling time it does get out of hand. Meanwhile, there has been other news occurring--I'd like to hear about some of it.

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#6 of 31 Darren H

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Posted October 19 2001 - 08:24 AM

Read this post, OR YOUR CHILD MIGHT BE THE NEXT VICTIM!

Two or three months ago I read a study that found that the more television an American watches, the more likely he or she is to harbor irrational fears and misconceptions about his or her own safety. (Unfortunately, racism and general xenophobia also come into play here.) The events of the last few weeks have certainly proven this.

My in-laws visited last week, and, as is typical for them, as soon as they walked in the door they turned on the Fox Cable News network. They absorb that channel like so much white noise, and its effect on them is just fightening. Two perfectly rational, well-educated people, who are now absolutely terrified to step on a plane, and who are convinced that they are at legitimate risk of coming into contact with Anthrax.

Cable news has, for all intents and purposes, ruined television journalism. Fortunately, the Internet has granted us all instant access to alternative news sources that span the spectrum of political, social, national, and religious bias. Of course, turning this information into useful data requires both an open mind and the ability to synthesize what we've read -- also known as "learning" -- which seems to interest far too few of us.

By the way, the opening line of my post is a joke.

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#7 of 31 Greg Morse

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Posted October 19 2001 - 09:03 AM

The media knows when they have a good thing going. Ratings mean everything and sensation causes people to remain glued to their TV's for the next piece of news. If you live in the northeast, remember what the news channels were like last winter every time a flake of snow was reported. I've taken to the point where the only news I don't view as purely entertainment is the AP wire and CCN's website and the BBC's website.

#8 of 31 Hugh Jackes

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Posted October 19 2001 - 09:40 AM

A large part of the hysteria is caused by the glut of 24-hour news channels themselves. To justify their existence, they require something to cover 'round the clock. Yes, I know CNN covered the'90-91 for the Persian Gulf war 'round-the-clock. The difference between then and now is that there was something to see then. Most of what's been happening overseas in this conflict (a child of the '70s, the word "war" leaves a bad taste in my mouth, even though I am in full support of it) hasn't been "made for video".

Before 9-11, the cable news channels were "all Condit, all of the time". Afterwards they were "all planes-running-into-buildings-and-buildings-falling-down, all of the time", and then "all where's-Cheney'and-when-are-we-going-to-move, all of the time".

As soon as something else comes along (something else always comes along), or as soon as number of people infected stops growing, the 24-hour news cycle will find something else to obsess about.

[Edited last by Hugh Jackes on October 19, 2001 at 04:42 PM]
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#9 of 31 CharlesD

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Posted October 19 2001 - 09:49 AM

hysteria = more ratings = more $/ad

Its amazing that there is so much hysteria over 6 people getting anthrax, all but the original guy who died are in little or no danger.

I'm still not sure if this some right-wing whacko attacking the "liberal" media (and the most prominent active Democrat politician) or a very clever manipulation of the media to cause irrational fear in millions of people.


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#10 of 31 Mike Lenthol

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Posted October 19 2001 - 11:00 AM

To those who are not "scared to death":

Imagine this situation, you rip open an envelope and get covered from head to toe in some dust.

What do you do?

a. Get the kitchen broom, and get tested in the next few days just to sleep better

OR

b. Call the cops, and they rush in with bio-suits to clean it all up

#11 of 31 Allen Hirsch

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Posted October 20 2001 - 03:47 AM

Mike-
that's a real scare, IF you get such a letter. But, so far, unless you work for a prominent politician, or for the media, the chances of that happening have been...ZERO.

I noticed that the SF Chronicle ran an article today putting into context the anthrax scare - only on page 2, of course, with a very small headline. It pointed out that statistically, you have a greater chance of dying by being struck by lightning, bit by a rattle snake, or killed by having a tree fall on you, than to die from anthrax, and you're 40,000 times more likely to die in a car accident.

But the 24-hour cable "news hysteria all the time, all day and night" stations can't report that breathlessly, so they probably won't report it at all.
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#12 of 31 Brad_W

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Posted October 20 2001 - 04:02 AM

One thing comes to mind:
"War of the Worlds."

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#13 of 31 Mike Lenthol

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Posted October 20 2001 - 07:43 AM

quote:
Mike-
that's a real scare, IF you get such a letter. But, so far, unless you work for a prominent politician, or for the media, the chances of that happening have been...ZERO.[/quote]

Try telling that to my neighbor, she will disagree Posted Image A prank? Most likely, but the tests aren't in yet.

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Find the cop in a bio-suit with a yellow oxygen tank and get a chocolate chip cookie Posted Image

[Edited last by Mike Lenthol on October 20, 2001 at 02:54 PM]

#14 of 31 MikeF

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Posted October 20 2001 - 09:26 AM

quote:
My in-laws visited last week, and, as is typical for them, as soon as they walked in the door they turned on the Fox Cable News network. They absorb that channel like so much white noise, and its effect on them is just fightening. Two perfectly rational, well-educated people, who are now absolutely terrified to step on a plane, and who are convinced that they are at legitimate risk of coming into contact with Anthrax.[/quote]

Post Edited By Administrator-Do Not Repost!

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[Edited last by Robert Crawford on October 21, 2001 at 10:44 AM]
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#15 of 31 Darren H

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Posted October 20 2001 - 02:07 PM

Post Edited By Administrator - Do Not Repost!

[Edited last by Robert Crawford on October 21, 2001 at 10:45 AM]
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#16 of 31 Scott Merryfield

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Posted October 21 2001 - 02:55 AM

The news industry is more about entertainment than presenting the news responsibly. Each news outlet is so concerned about being the first to report on something, that they do not check their sources before reporting. The more sensational the story, the better.

Remember NBC's Nightline attaching explosive devices to GM pickup trucks as part of their story "proving" that GM trucks with side mounted gas tanks would explode if they tipped over? Does anyone think that was responsible journalism? What about Fox's show "proving" the moon landing was faked? Who cares if the facts are not right, as long as they get good ratings?

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#17 of 31 Robert Crawford

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Posted October 21 2001 - 03:48 AM

Members,
My edits to certain posts is an attempt to keep this thread on topic without it becoming political which means it will then be closed down. No political comments, please!


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#18 of 31 Mark Kalzer

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Posted October 21 2001 - 04:59 AM

Sheesh, I'm always too late to catch it!

Getting back on topic....

I for one am sick of the media nowadays. If you turn on CNN, you would think the world is coming to an end. While I choose not to watch it, my dad is frequently tuned into it, and the local Future Shop is also playing it on some of their TVs.

One problem I have with them is that they keep reporting "The War on Terrorism" even though there's really nothing new to report. (If you watch Air-Farce recently, you'd get my point immedietely!) Instead, they talk about what terrible things could happen next....bio-terrorism, nuclear-terrorism, Battlefield Earth sequals (Sorry, couldn't resist!), etc.

If you think about it, these Anthrax attacks can all be partly blamed on the media. Certainly they aren't the ones making the attacks, (Unless TV competition is getting really tense.) but it could be just a bunch of idiots who saw all this on the news, who knew that America is more nervous than ever, and thought it would be funny to push America over the edge. It seems to be working so far.

I just saw on the cover of The Sunday Star saying, "Is Nuclear Terrorism next?" My reaction, "PLEASE! JUST GIVE IT UP! You're not doing any good by reporting it, so just give it up. To heck with newspaper sales."

Just to lighten my post here, I'll direct you all to here. Select CNN report for a funny take on this whole media coverage!
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#19 of 31 Eric Scott

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Posted October 21 2001 - 03:15 PM

CNN was once my favorite news station. It had a lot of variety, I liked shows like Crossfire. I assume management and people like Jeff Greenfield have made the decision to have perpetual scare TV and fear mongering. I don't see how the newscasters could like repeating the same thing over and over?

It's about the same as watching reruns of the news! It's obvious that they are "hopefully awaiting" for something new to happen. That something is "death." To be big, important news it must be death on a grand scale. Do they care who's? (I think not, news is news!)

They are dispiriting their viewers, I would describe their news as diseased, they are spreading a sickness of the mind and sole. They have created a passive attack of terror delivered by words. No law or antibiotic can stop it. While the innocent fall prey, the perpetrators sip Starbucks and and reflect sympathetically to their victims.

Personally, I have had enough of CNN.



#20 of 31 Michael*K

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Posted October 21 2001 - 04:01 PM

I really got fed up with the cable news coverage last night when they kept reporting at the top of their coverage that Special Forces troops had conducted missions in Southern Afghanistan. Was this news? Only if we hadn't turned on a TV or read a newspaper in the last day...the raids had taken place 36 hours before! Honestly, it's the same stories rehashed ad nauseum and I'm sick of it.

And the alarmist reports that CNN puts out are damned annoting. I was home the day the NBC letter was announced and Aaron Brown kept trying to draw adjectives to describe the story...disturbing, alarming, harrowing...you get the picture. How about just the straight news without trying to push any panic buttons with the viewing audience? Could it be they want to inject so much fear in the viewing audience that they think we will stayed glued to their coverage non-stop? Forget it!

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