Anyone Else Sick Of Sensationalized News?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by James Edward, Aug 15, 2004.

  1. James Edward

    James Edward Supporting Actor

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    I wonder whether any of the 15 or so people killed by Hurricane Charley stayed because so often the media cries wolf at otherwise mundane events.

    I am old enough(44) to remember when rain would be predicted as just rain, not an apocalyptic flood, regardless of intensity. Just to keep people listening, there is ALWAYS a chance of rain forecast. And are they ever right about a Saturday forecast on a Monday? And why do people even take it seriously?

    Traffic reports used to mention accidents, not 'crashes'.

    Celebrity news did not make up 50% or more of every newscast.

    This I could be wrong about- but weren't 'states of emergency' declared after an event, not pre-emptively, as they seem to be now?

    And another 25% of the 'news' is coverage of things that have not yet taken place.

    I now seldom tune in to the local news except to get a chuckle. What is the latest thing killing off all of mankind? Uncooked hamburger? Germs on shopping cart handles? Children maiming themselves on monkey bars? Tune in at 5...

    Paranoia seems rampant now, in large part because of the news. Does anyone else feel we'd all be better off without so much information about things that generally have no impact whatsoever on our lives?

    OK. I'm done now...
     
  2. Carl Miller

    Carl Miller Screenwriter

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    James, as New Yorker, do you remember when a fast moving rain storm running east through New York was just a fast moving rain storm? Now, it's an Alberta Clipper.

    And just about every single storm coming from the Atlantic ocean with heavy rain and high winds is now a Noreaster...Which were relatively rare I might add, before they turned the weather report into a ratings grab.

    And the winter storm watches? Where a 4-6 inch predicted snowfall is a blizzard warning...

    I still watch the news, but I turn it off after the first 6 minutes or so...Or just as the first piece of celebrity news comes on. Whichever comes first.

    I used to like news, when it was more about the facts.
     
  3. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    I'm sick of hyped up weather forecasts that turn out completely wrong.

    All we heard Thu/Fri/Sat was that the remnants of Charley would be with us on Sunday, heavy rain for hours, possibly up to 3" of rain, flood watches and warnings all over the place, warnings about not driving in flooded roadways and having a few supplies on hand in case of power failure or being stranded by high water...

    ...well, today's Sunday. It's a nice, sunny summer day. No rain in sight. Not so much as a sprinkle. Had I known this yesterday, I wouldn't have crammed a weekend's worth of activity into a single day.

    F-ing meteorologists. [​IMG]
     
  4. MikeH1

    MikeH1 Screenwriter

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    They call it an Alberta clipper way out in New York? I thought it was more of a western thing.

    But yeah, I have to agree that the news is all about sensationalizing everything. Everything is all about ratings and the more people that tune in through scare mongering makes the network/station more money.

    IMO the West Nile virus story is blown way out of proportion, at least here in Canada. I know some parts of the U.S. get a lot more cases of it than Canada. I have no problems with educating the public about it but you almost have a better chance of getting hit by a bolt of lightening than contracting and dying from WNV.
     
  5. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    Yeah, I agree. They seem to be - or are - all scripted now. They'll spend 2 minutes going into intimate detail on their next story, and after the commercial you still have to wait, and when it does show up, it only takes 30 seconds.

    And when something like these hurricanes do show up, they don't talk about anything else. Yeah, like the whole world has stopped and won't do a thing until the hurricane story has - (get this) blown over!

    I can see a weather person thinking - Well, I want to go to this place this weekend, and I don't want it to be crowded, so I'll just predict storms and everybody will stay home! Thank you! So where do we get the REAL weather forcast from?

    Don't hold me to this, as it isn't 100% accurate, but those living on the East Coast can get some idea of their weather by looking at the West Coast, and adding 5 days. Try it out.

    Glenn
     
  6. andrew markworthy

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    In the UK, it always has been. [​IMG] Bear in mind that in the UK we spend the summer thinking we're in the arctic and in the winter we think we're in the tropics. Thus we can have newspaper headlines like 'Britain Sizzles in the Seventies'. Brits genuinely can't see why a large part of the world finds this funny.

    Getting back on topic, yes I'm fed up with sensationalised news. At one time it was confined to the cheaper tabloids but now it seems to be across all media. The trouble is that when everything is a tragedy, we lose the ability to distinguish between the genuinely important and the merely ephemeral. If you read the UK newspapers and believed everything that was fed to you, then you'd 'know' the following:

    (1) you're going to die from mad cow disease
    (2) if a terrorist attack doesn't get you first
    (3) or a giant meteor
    (4) or global warming
    (5) but your end should be a merciful release because you're a financial failure; after all, a professional soccer player earns more in a month than an average person earns in a lifetime
    (6) the end should also be merciful for your kids, because nobody who isn't the kid of a professional footballer will be able to afford a house in a few years' time
    (7) even if the above doesn't affect you, then you should feel guilty because you haven't eaten at least five units of fruit and veg every day of your life and you don't go to the gym five times a week
    (8) nor have you seen enough subtitled films
    (9) and you must have no self image because you're not prepared to spend a thousand pounds on the latest dress or suit.

    I assume the same BS more or less applies in the USA?
     
  7. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    That's why I cancelled directv effective yesterdsay! TV is junk. Someone said the news is depressing then they go to commercial brake where the drug companies advertise their drugs to make you whole again.
     
  8. James Edward

    James Edward Supporting Actor

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    Precisely. And it might be worse... Just about every day a new disease, or pestilence, or poorly designed product, or other catastrophic malady rears it's ugly head.

    Why just this week, one neighbor died from West Nile Virus, another was stricken by e.coli from a bad burger, and three neighborhood children were kidnapped by a satanic cult. And that's just one block. [​IMG]
     
  9. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    And in the US, at least if you're a young, attractive white woman (preferably pregnant), if you go missing it will become nationwide news.

    All men and all women of other races/social classes are apparently deserving of whatever fate they met since their disappearance is never, ever mentioned...ever.
     
  10. andrew markworthy

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    West Nile Disease is something that the media have tried to get us panicky about, but at the moment the scare stories about mad cow disease and the hospital superbug are grabbing the headlines.
     
  11. Bob Graz

    Bob Graz Supporting Actor

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    We don't have real news anymore. We have news magazines. It used to be that TV stations broadcast the news (facts)so that the viewer could come to some conclusion/position. Now they make/invent stories that they call news. You're force fed biased reporting. It's hard to tell what the real facts are anymore. Oh well......
     
  12. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    I cancelled cable TV last week. I'm not missing it one bit.

    Hurray for Benq lower-cost DLP projectors!

    When I want news, I visit Google.

    When I want the weather, I visit an online Canadian weather service. No hype. No color commentary. No BS. Just the f*cking weather, thank you!
     
  13. Steve Felix

    Steve Felix Supporting Actor

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    TV news is one big conflict of interest. I watch Turner Classic Movies, and that's it. Google News is my home page.
     
  14. MikeH1

    MikeH1 Screenwriter

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    I got one of their LCD moniters [​IMG]

    w00t!
     
  15. Brian Lawrence

    Brian Lawrence Producer

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    The one thing that irks me the most about news segments is when they have background music dictating how you should be re-acting to it. It's like - Let's go interview some sick child cancer patient and then edit it into a mini-drama with footage of teary eyed mother (and of course at least one shot of the newsperson doing the interview looking deeply affected) and then cue up the depressing soft piano music in the background.
     
  16. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

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    All except the bit about watching more subtitled films. [​IMG]
     
  17. JustinCleveland

    JustinCleveland Cinematographer

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    Thanks for making broad, generalized statements about the entire news industry. As a newscaster, I find what you just said completely offensive. You know how much celebrity news makes it on my station? None that doesn't have to do with us making fun of them in a scripted bit. We give people a genuine forecast about 4-5 days in advance because that's what they want. I tell you that there is a slight chance of rain and never overblow it. I evenly report news that has happend, bad accidents and so-called "crashes" (which is just a different term, get over it) and previews of events that are upcoming and of importance to the public like city and county meetings.

    But according to your broad generalizations, I'm a fatalist, doomsayer, and interested in only reporting fluff.

    Next time a tornado comes through destroying whole towns (I've covered three in the past two years), while you're sitting snuggly in your basement, remember that I'm sitting in front of 10-foot tall plate glass windows tracking the storm, keeping in touch with emergency officials and weather-experts to try to keep you safe. Remember that some of us spend tons of hours, pull all-nighters to keep you informed and up-to-date. Thanks for taking it for granted. Good luck with Google News giving a damn about what's going on locally. National news may have gone to hell, but the local stations still care about you.
     
  18. andrew markworthy

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    Justin, I'm sorry if you've taken offence, but the fact remains that overall the coverage of fluff in the news has increased in recent years. Consider the following examples from a potentially long list:

    (a) mood music in the background of news items
    (b) a huge increase in the reporting of the precise salaries of various stars (you used to know these guys were rich, but it wasn't rubbed in your face)
    (c) far more manipulation of the media by spin doctors (yes of course it's always gone on, but not to the extent it does these days)
    (d) conversely, a huge increase in revelations about private lives of politicians(e.g. the old chestnut about how long JFK would have lasted if he entered politics today)
    (e) the decrease in the length of time people will attend to a message, leading to the huge increase in the importance of the 'sound bite'
    (f) in the case of the USA, a depressing increase in insularity - e.g. what percentage of your broadcasts deal with anything outside the USA?

    All of these contribute to making us concentrate on the immediate, the parochial and the sensational in the news.

    There are of course honourable exceptions to this rule, and I'm sure you're in this group. But with respect, you're in a minority.

    I can't comment on the weather coverage. We Brits do occasionally see clips of some of your more whacko weather presenters on compilation shows. Our forecasts are generally very straightforward (though there are fan clubs for some of our more 'eye candy' presenters).
     
  19. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    ...which is why we planned for Six Flags on Sunday since last week [​IMG]. While I feel for the folk down south, I knew these idiots would blow things out of proportion up here.

    It was no more than an overcast day. The longest line for a ride was 15 minutes. By 7PM (the park closes at 10), it was only a matter of waiting for the ride to show up. By 8:30PM, they were actually letting us stay in our seats for a couple of rounds in a row, the trains were 3/4 empty. I am gaining a new appreciating for sensationalist weather reports [​IMG]

    --
    H
     
  20. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    I'm sure no one here was talking about AM radio broadcasting.
     

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