This one time at Writer's Camp…
Little Ball of Mud
There’s some weird things going on in the world right now that are just begging for me to voice my little old opinion on.
The first thing is US politics. I hate politics, but the more I watch nut jobs on both sides speak for the 80% of the rest of us, the more I’m convinced that the King/Queen/Senate idea has some merit. Unfortunately, could you really trust anybody with any sort of power these days? I wouldn’t trust myself, that’s for sure. I’d be too tempted to simply feed someone to a wood chipper if they did something stupid. And all of the paperwork on that…. *sigh*
The second thing is related, but only just. I’m tired of newspapers. Journalism (and I was a journalist minor while attaining my History degree) has turned into Entertainment Magazine Daily. It’s not about the news, but about the message. And instead of letting people read the facts and think about what they are going to decide what happened, more and more editors are slanting the process to encourage or discourage the mood of an article. For example…
Back in 2003 I was paying close attention to the recall elections in California. I had yet to move back when it started but when I got there it was in full chaos mode. As a recent graduate, I was very interested in seeing how The Los Angeles Times ran their news articles versus the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. While the tribune called Bustamante and Schwarzenegger both “candidates” when mentioning them in articles (“Candidate Cruz Bustamante, the Democratic hopeful for governor”, or “Candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger, blah blah blah”, etc), the Times was a little cockeyed in their approach. They call Cruz Bustamante “Candidate”, which was fine, but whenever they mentioned Schwarzenegger it was “the actor”. It was never “the candidate” or even “Republican”, which skewed the mental image of what people were thinking. It was subtle, but a lot of people think of him as the actor. If he was the actor, nobody would take him seriously as the candidate.
Well, it worked out for Ah-nold in the end, but think of the implications of a major media news source dictating our emotions to us to suit their own wants and needs. Think Fox News, Al-Jazeera, MSNBC, CNN, etc. Everyone wants us to watch their station or read their news and not their competitors, so they appeal to the dogmatic approach of “Us” and “Them”. Hell, why not? It works in politics. Why not for journalism?
Because it’s wrong, you halfwits. The newspaper’s goal is to report the news (and, to paraphrase a bit, raise hell). You aren’t the gossippaper, or the ideapaper. NEWSpaper. Remember that next time.
Thirdly, the combination of the two. Yesterday I briefly mentioned on Twitter that Al-Jazeera had kind of pulled a weird “Burn him at the stake!” moment for the incoming president of Serbia when he mentioned that while what happened at Srerbrenica was a mass murder, he didn’t think it was genocide. Many Muslims (and others, but mostly Muslims) took him to task, calling him everything from vampiric to Holocaust denier (which I found amusing, but whatever). However, when I brought up the Armenian genocide by the Muslim Ottomans (precursor to the modern Turkey, for you poor uneducated history haters), it got strangely quiet… then my comment was deleted. I brought up the Turks (again, mostly Muslims) killing of Kurds a few years later, nothing. Nanking? A few people had the gall to ask what that one was. Nobody jumped on the “Nazis are bad guys” bandwagon that I started, so I knew that the Jews were, once again, fucked.
Through all of this, the editors at al-Jazeera were quiet (except when they finally banned me after asking them about Shiites massacring Sunnis, Sunnis massacring Kurds, everyone killing Israel, etc) and never really tried to research their claims it seemed. Hell, I went to Wikipedia, and I hate using Wikipedia.
So yeah, I’ve been getting more and more cranky at the state of affairs in our world. Our world, people. Not yours. Not mine. We share this little ball of mud. Deal with it. Leave each other alone if you can’t get along.
Seriously, it’s not that hard.