Am I the only misanthrope in the newsroom?

Posted 12.04.14

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | This title refers to the media's universally awful coverage of last month's attacks on our soldiers in Canada. Is no one else revolted by the flood of platitudes, pomposities, clichés, repetitions, vacuous statements, emotional outbursts, and total lack of informative content which filled the national media, private or public, as it pretended to cover the week's terrible events and the subsequent outpouring of tears, angst, and even more platitudes?

Is it really necessary to demonstrate one's abhorrence of the killings? These -- and any murders -- are horrible, but do we all, every announcer, every interviewee, have to first assure the audience that we are suitably shocked? Why? Such over-the-top assurances of sincerity and of grief sound so insincere they render the statements ineffectual.

Do we accept as professional our corporate media's standard operating procedure of repeating the same statements ad infinitum, as though the whole country had just woken up that very moment? This practise reached unbelievable heights during the 7/11 attacks when we were told daily for several weeks that the twin towers had been attacked by two aircraft. Or the Lac Megantic oil-cars explosions -- was there a single person in Canada who had not heard of the Megantic disaster?

Yet the media, including our hallowed (er, hollowed-out) CBC, deemed it critical to repeat what we had just heard, over and over again. It's the arrogant attitude of such stupidity that is so aggravating.

Granted the corporate media has almost wiped out professional journalists, leaving an office researcher, maybe, to prepare newscasts. Following Conrad Black's advice, the media have fired reporters and hired more salespeople, thus re-defining what we mean by (and what we expect from) "the media." Is it any wonder ordinary folks have ended their subscriptions and stopped listening to news reports?

Their solution -- to seek out "personalized" news sources on the internet, accuracy be damned, is even worse than no solution at all since these "news sources" provide the viewers the self-assurance to think they are paying attention to the day's actual events. So journalists are over-worked and grab any tag line or handy quote to put out as "news". Does this mean the media companies are allowed to get away with such a dereliction of duty? Does this mean you and I have to sit and watch, listen and read -- and not question any of the trivia we've just read and heard?

It is not news that people are sad over a murder, nor that parents are distraught over a child's death. It is not news when a lady bursts into tears or when children bring flowers to a crime site. The word "news" means new, something unexpected and important to our lives -- it doesn't mean any emotional over-reaction nor the verbal belching of a prime minister, foreign dignitary, or other travelling salesman. "News" means news which affects our lives. We aren't getting this in Canada, and that's something worth crying over.


Copyright © 2014 Fred Ryan/Log Cabin Chronicles/12.14