Posts tagged ‘Media’

September 6, 2011

Political Cartoon of the Day IV

by Vince

This could serve as a type of media headline game.

August 30, 2011

Judging Hurricane Irene and Our Hurricane-type Hysteria

by Vince

If you live on the east coast in the U.S., you most likely have heard about Hurricane Irene non-stop for the past week (at least). A few of the places you may have heard bits of news from would of been the Weather Channel (as well as other local or national news stations) as well as Facebook (as well as the World Wide Web). Both of these media outlets covered this hurricane quite extensively. The former was done by professionals while the latter was done by mostly normal joe’s. What both have in common is that they stirred up interesting reactions in all of us.

T.V., especially weather coverage, can go over board. The constant reporting and sometimes worst-case scenarios may really freak people out to the point of hysteria. Facebook seemed to have had similar effects. One friend of mine noticed an interesting trend that isn’t necessarily unique to Hurricane Irene but still interesting: while many people freaked out about Hurricane Irene, many people freaked out about people freaking out about Hurricane Irene. If you think about it, this irony surely does play out in many situations. I don’t have T.V. so I somewhat tried to avoid Facebook so that I could sit back and watch the rain come down and relax over a shut-in type weekend.

One final note: politics has to come into play somehow with this hurricane and the hysteria (doesn’t it?) Two pieces worth checking out: Rush Limbaugh’s usual comments regarding the hysteria:

It was a rainstorm and there was a lot of flooding and there were deaths associated with it,” Limbaugh said. “But they hype — folks, I’ll tell you what this was, was a lesson.

“If you pay any attention to this, they hype — the desire for chaos, I mean, literally — the media desire for chaos was a great learning tool. This is a great illustration of how all of the rest of the media in news, in sports, has templates and narratives and exaggerates beyond reality creating fear, so as to create interest.”

With at least 40 people dead (and rising) and millions in damage, the king of hype and hysteria has to chime in, doesn’t he? However, I partly am in agreement with Rush. Some members of the media, and I include Facebook in this, have a tendency to almost want drama, hype, and buckets of craziness, in not only national events but their own lives.

Second, Ezra Klein et al wonder if we didn’t hype the storm enough considering what it was capable of:

A lot of the commentary over whether the storm got too much attention has been based around the damage the storm did or did not do. NBC’s Al Roker, for instance, tweeted, “Since when is covering a storm that kills 16 people and counting, causes massive flooding and millions in damage hype?” Over at the New York Times, Nate Silver runs somenumbers and concludes that Irenes ranks as “the 8th-most destructive storm since 1980, adjusted for inflation and the growth in wealth and population.”

But the Irene hype occurred mostly before it made landfall, and so mostly before we knew how bad it really was, or wasn’t. Storms are unpredictable, both in their path and intensity, and though Irene mostly broke our way, it could easily have swung towards New York City and picked up speed before smacking into the city. If that had happened, we would be having a very different conversation right now. So the question isn’t whether the storm was overhyped given how things actually went, but whether it was overhyped given how they could have gone. I’m not enough of a meteorologist to render a verdict on that, but it’s the right question to be asking.

August 26, 2011

Banning Video Cameras = Liberty?

by Vince

Does it make sense that an Ohio Congressman banned the public from recording his townhall meeting but allowed the press to record it?

June 1, 2011

The Magical Mystery Tour of Sarah Palin

by Vince

As I noted earlier today, Palin is making her cross-country trip, effectively rousing the people for a possible 2012 GOP bid. Palin is taking an unconventional route (no pun intended) in that she is purposefully eluding the press (and even her fans) and making them find her. In a sense, this tour will either give Palin the green or red light in terms of running in 2012:

According to a source with knowledge of Palin’s thinking, the tour is a test of whether she can do it “her way,” which the source described as “nontraditional, low-cost, high-tech…. The key is to be totally unpredictable and always keep her rivals off-balance.”

With that under-the-radar approach, Palin may have some gold up her sleeve:

Unscripted moments that go badly can haunt a politician on YouTube during a campaign and into the future, but Palin’s ease with a rope line and her politicking skills are one of her best assets. A Palin campaign may not have a press bus or the more formal interviews that reporters crave, but her team will undoubtedly factor in added time for her to greet supporters and campaign not just in large rallies but one on one as well.

The one major trait of Palin that could doom her chances is her divisiveness. Everything from her comments post-Tuscon to her Tweets, she polarizes the political debate to awful extremes (sometimes even cultural ones). Andrew Sullivan made this ironic point when she moved to Arizona, a state bitterly divided between the white, conservative north and the Hispanic south.

One other irony: Palin made the comment that she loves the smell of emissions. This comment could have many meanings behind it. It coincidentally was said by her the same day this report (eyes widen) was released:

According to the IEA, a record 30.6 gigatons of carbon dioxide was released into the atmosphere last year, mainly from the burning of fossil fuels. In light of these shocking numbers, experts now fear that it will be impossible to prevent a temperature rise of more than 2 degrees Celsius — which scientists say is the threshold for potentially “dangerous climate change.”

Picture by Flickr user Dave77459

September 21, 2010

What Are We To Believe?

by Vince

Brett McCracken has a fine article (you should read it all here) asking what are we to believe in this dubious world of deception, lies, and tabloids that we live in:

I saw the film Catfish this weekend–a documentary about a Facebook relationship. The film observes photographer Nev Schulman during his online romance with “Megan,” who he gets to know on Facebook (along with her whole family). As the film progresses, however, Nev begins to have doubts about who Megan actually is. Is she a real person? What would happen if he tried to meet her in person?

The film (which you should see) demonstrates our contemporary longing for connection in a world that is increasingly surreal, virtual, and subject to doubt. It underscores how prone we are to trust what we feel to be real, even though experience increasingly proves our skepticism warranted. Should we believe anything anymore? What can be trusted?

We used to trust authority. Presidents, politicians, pastors…  Not so much anymore. It’s hard when the media constantly feeds us stories of the scandals, dishonesty, and hypocrisy of these formerly heroic, respectable officials.

MJ and I had a relative conversation about this yesterday. We wonder if Sarah Palin truly believes that America has nothing to apologize for, if Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly actually believe all that they preach daily at the Church of Fox News, and if all the tabloids at the grocery store check-out are true, exaggerated, based on assumptions, or plain lies?

In cases such as Casey Affleck, which is the center of McCracken’s article, we assume to know that he was lying about his life (or parts of it) over the past two years. The sad part is there seems to be little fact checking in the tabloid world and main stream media. In these realms of glitter, glam, and photographs, you are guilty before you are proven innocent. Worse, there are not court rooms for you to plead your innocence. As heretical as this may sound to the media junkie or realist, are the annals and details of our president, movie stars, or odd neighbor down the street ours to know or possess?

(Image: Lindsay Lohan after one of her drug run-ins. Her picture provoked the thought: how much of what the media (or her own self) reports is real?)

August 3, 2010

Sharon Angles’ Manipulation of the Media

by Vince

The Washington Monthly fills in:

Sharron Angle said, on the record and on camera, that her campaign’s media strategy is built around the notion of manipulating news organizations, getting the questions Angle wants, so she can give the answers she wants, so the public will hear the news the way Angle wants it to be heard.

I expect Angle to say insane things, but this is truly remarkable. I’m trying to imagine what the response on the right would be if President Obama said he needs independent news organizations to be his “friend,” which is why he demands that reporters ask the questions he wants to answer “so that they report the news the way we want it to be reported.”