Tuesday, May 26, 2020

News media "past the tipping point" of bias

Well, finally, I see someone in my court. Van Gordon Sauter, a past president of both CBS News and Fox News, published an op-ed today deploring the press as past its tipping point in media bias. Amen to that. 
    He also said today's journalists are not like he was when he was active in it. Amen to that.
    Today's journalism is not the straight-laced, truth- and fact-seeking journalism we had when I was in it either.
    There was a time you presented both sides and the facts of a story and left the readers decide which side they'd choose.
    Now, it's the spin created to help you lean one way or the other.
    Sadly, I don't see it getting back on the rails any time soon. It's more downhill than ever. Really, really sad.
    Record any report by a network news reporter and copy it, word for word, onto paper. Then, remove all the superlatives and commentary words and leave just the facts. Even some of the commentary phrases and words are never supported by facts.
    When finished, I'll bet you only a quarter of the story -- at the most -- is left and some of the basic facts to fully describe the story are missing.
    These so-called "professional journalists" act like they never when to journalism school to learn even the basics of news reporting.
    Even high-school journalism classes for the high school newspaper teach the six basic ingredients to a legitimate news story.
    The only way to get a better, more balanced view of the stories facing our nation, state and localities is to watch the news from TWO source, both opposite on their spin.
    Today's politics is deep in the muck. The unfortunate part of this is that the news media is in right in there too.
 

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Beware the news media's "spin"

Once upon a time, the news organizations required good editors and copy editors to present us with a balanced, fair, view of a story.
     Why was it required? Simple answer, space. Or lack of it. Newspapers had just so much space available to present their stories. Based on a simple financial fact. To stay in business and provide the service, They had to sell advertising space. The money made from that paid the salaries and the added newsprint needed to provide the reports of events.
     So, the more advertisements, the more space could be available. That’s why newspapers were thicker some days than others.
     The point is, that you got to see a summary of an event. A summary that answered as many of the six basic questions of news reporting: Who, What, Where, When, How and Why.
     The news was always “spun.” Whether we like it or not, and no matter how true and dedicated to truth an editors and the reporters could be, you saw a “spun” story. It could have been accidentally or purposely slanted just based on the facts and statements that had to be omitted to shorten the story to fit the allotted space.
     But today that has changed. With television, and especially the Internet and its so-called “cloud,” no story has to have any of its information edited or omitted.
     Television and radio stations can argue they have “limited time” space to present their stories.
     They defeat their own argument. Take WGAL-TV, or like they often call it “News8.” They spend 2-1/2 hours each early evening solid for the news. But they call it time constraint because the present several newscasts, one after the other repeating the stories they presented the previous half hour. Half of those stories are from reading news releases sent to them from various sources seeking publicity.
     The TV news media will interrupt their entertainment programming in order to bring you a news conference IF they deem it “newsworthy,” a term meaning “in their best interest.” Excluding some news conferences and allowing others to interrupt their normal broadcasting is an exercise of censorship to us.
     And, with the onset of digital television, they try to soften that feeling of censorship by shoving a news conference to a sub-channel while they continue other programming on their main channel. Nonetheless, the media chose for you what they want you to see and not see.
     The lack of space constraint today means that you and I should be able to see a news conference in its entirety – and for print media to print the full news conference text in print on the Internet, where space is infinite.
     Presenting the news conference in its entirety means you and I see the full context of what was happening. A politician or other public figure can make a sarcastic joke about something and you see the context of how it was meant, instead of seeing short clips, visually or print, taken out of that context, which suggests a much different meaning.
     If you want to see how slanted or biased a media outlet is, let the media itself demonstrate it to you. Watch a news conference and remember your initial feelings about it, and then listen to the “recap” made by the media’s reporter or anchor person afterwords.
     First of all, why are media employees giving a “recap” to begin with? Do they think you are too stupid to have understood what you just heard or saw? Or, are they trying to skew the information so you see it as it fits their views and opinions?
     It has to be one or the other.
     NEVER assume the news is presented to you fairly. I don’t care if it’s CNN, MSNBC, Fox, NBS, CBS, ABC, NPS or your local stations and newspaper organizations. What they place first in their allotted space, how much it is edited, or how it’s introduced, you are getting the news through manipulated filters.
     It doesn’t matter how innocent or dedicated to the truth an organization may want to be, it is “spun.”
     You want the true, unfiltered version of a news conference? See a video or read the text, both totally raw and unedited, on the Internet. The space is there. So if you can’t find a raw video or text of a conference, whether national or very local, it’s because the media organization you are searching doesn’t want you to.
     Space is no longer an option or excuse to edit any conference.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Happy Mothers Day???

Television news anchor Kate Snow signed off her news broadcast smiling from ear to ear, saying "Happy Mothers Day."
     Happy Mothers Day?
    Happy Mothers Day?
    Are you kidding?
    What is so happy about Mothers Day this year?
    The fact that I had to watch my wife cry because she couldn't hug our son or daughter-in-law, who just delivered a restaurant take-out meal to us as a symbol to have a Mothers Day feast without actually eating together?
     What do you think this is. Make believe?
    You have no idea how angry I am at this moment in time. My health is failing fast because of lack of proper exercise routines, medical visits I should be having because of a virus pandemic and the so-called "solutions" stupid elected politicians have devised based on advice of cronies they feel are the experts. Yet they collect their public paychecks as the people who elected them are going hungry and becoming financially bankrupt.
    The stupidity of them, the stupidity of other people to over-react to the slightest little thing.
     My God, if a foreign country invaded us now only those trained military troops would try to resist, while most of us, the general public, would lie down and roll over and give up yelling "please don't hurt me. I don't want to feel bad."
    The whole situation is so screwed up, so skewed, so warped that I feel I am living in a damned fairy tale where no one lives happily ever after.
     And chances are I will die before seeing another, hopefully happier, Mothers Day where my wife can hug and be hugged, and our kids and us can enjoy peace together.
    This is like a movie of my life just ended on the screen, and now its time to return to a life that is ugly and is considered "normal."
    When this first began, I told my wife, "They are lying. They said just stay home for two weeks. Anyone with half a brain knows this is going to be much much longer than two weeks."
    All of the lies from not only politicians, where we expect lies, the news media that stretches and twists the truth, and so-called experts. First, masks aren't of any use (they were just lying to keep people from buying the masks so healthcare workers could get them). Then, the masks only protect others from you (truthfully, they will filter in both directions). Then, we MUST wear masks.
    Pardon me for not believing a single word emanating from the mouths of government officials any more. They are as sick and corrupt as any virus.
    That's my rant, probably incoherent, for tonight.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Politicians think they have all the answers

Here's a copy of a reply to an email sent out by Pa. State Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill today, March 24, 2020:

Hon. Sen. Phillips-Hill:
    As the old riddle goes,
     Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
    Humpty Dumpy had a great fall,
    All the king's horses and all the king's men,
    Couldn't put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

    Let's see how well you politicians handle trying to put our economy back together again, now that you damned near successfully destroyed it.
    All you have done is slowed down the coronavirus' progress,to avoid an immediate overload of our health/medical system (which all of you so-called experts regulate and control its capacity and capabilities in the first place) and you bask in the glow of a news media that eats up the "astounding" growth in numbers of cases reported (which is obvious will continue to grow) to continually scare us viewers/readers into submission. Yet the media, while reporting the high number of cases reported, fails to report the number of people officially treated and released...as an example yesterday, throughout the state, by the health departments own numbers, only 2,700 cases are actually in treatment at hospitals. Subtract that number from the total cases reported and the number of deaths, and you have how many thousand who have gotten well???
    And rooms AVAILABLE in the state's hospitals for more potential cases is nearly 50%. of the hospitals capacity....and the number of ventilators AVAILABLE is greater than 50%... Oh, and of all the ventilators in use, only about a third of them are being used on Covid-19 patients...the other 2/3 are for other diseases and conditions.
    And, during this time period, how many cases have there been of the regular flu and how many deaths? Those numbers don't seem as readily available but I'll bet you were talking thousands, and higher than the Covid-19 group. (I believe from reports in February there were, in just a two-week period, there were 24,000 cases and 14 deaths).

    You politicians have handed out more pain and anguish to survivors of Covid-19 and those who have avoided infection so far through an nearly total economic shutdown of our livelihood, than the pain and anguish coming from the health condition itself. You couldn't have emphasized using cleaning and antiseptic wipes, washing hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, and "social distancing" and mandate wearing face masks without shutting down people's livelihoods, could you?
    You set fire to the village to try to save it, and God help you all in trying to fix Humpty Dumpty.

---D. Scott Miller
a registered voter and, in your terms, a high-risk citizen for the Covid-19 virus.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Wolf, govt. has hurt us more than we realize

The government's action of shutting down the economy and forcing us to stay in place has caused more pain to more people than if the economy was left alone.
    When you think of the millions of people already laid off, and the small businesses that have been closed long enough now that they have to shut down forever, the numbers far outweigh the number of deaths from the coronavirus.
    The virus is causing pain and suffering to families throughout this world. But our reaction has caused much more pain and suffering, mentally and financially,
than the disease itself.
   The longer these restrictions continue, the more painful and deadly it is going to be to our economy.
    Who knows, maybe the economy may not have the ability to recover.
    The financial payments being made to citizens of this country right now are coming at a cost to us down the road.  This money is not free. It is costly.
    While the government tells you this money will help you through the period, it is far less than needed and what is given has to be eventually repaid by each and every one of us, with interest.
    Don't forget, in order for the government to give you this money, it has to print it. And printing it actually reduces the overall value of the money. So if you get $1 today, you will be paying that back at the value of, say, 70 cents. And guess who has to pay back the extra 30 cents?
    No, I don't think this was a hidden conspiracy to tear apart our economy. I do think it is the stupidity and short- and narrow-mindedness of our politicians and so-called experts in the medical and financial fields.
     If you think the recovery from this pandemic is going to be slow, watch the recovery of the economy. The rich will get richer and some of the poor won't be able to revive their businesses at all.