Panache, Smoke, Mirrors

Posted on May 21, 2012. Filed under: Journalism, language, Piss Ants | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Aside from adding federally approved yellowing agents, there are other tactics used by the media to stand out when competing for the same audience with the same offerings (say, like your various news/weather broadcasts):

  1. Panache (old-fashioned showmanship).  Boast that “Our pretty-boy/ -girl has a prettier smile than your pretty-girl/ -boy and can read the teleprompter better than yours.”  Tap dance like Billy Clinton explaining his latest episode of Sex and the Single Girl while juggling the meaning of the word “is.”  SMILE A LOT.  Dazzle ’em with a glitzy studio and eye-catching technology.  Tease them with pointless, but cute, anecdotes.  SMILE A LOT.  Instead of being a fashion dummy’s torso sitting behind a desk, stand up to read the teleprompter in a really cool fashion-model stance so people can tell you ARE wearing pants.  Oh…    and, SMILE A LOT.
  2. Smoke.  Announce up-coming stories with teasers that take up more time than the actual story:  Did the President really say “$#+!%*”?   Will you need your umbrella?   What toddler completed potty training 20 minutes earlier than its peers?   Stay tuned right here ’cause Gregg has your answers at 10:00 P.M.   You get a lot more promise than substance.
  3. Mirrors.  When you got a story, even though irrelevant, with hot buttons (like GAY BAR, ELECTION, BRIBE), run it a dozen times a day, but, have different teleprompter readers read it while sitting or standing in different postures.   If it’s the same schmuck at every reading, have him try to act like he’s really excited on every retelling.

The breaking news ploy.  Oh!  Yeah, there is that:   (l) Live from some helicopter hovering over some disturbance on an interstate somewhere in Timbuktu, or (2) Live from some well-known rehab center where the gardener who works for the third cousin of a big name celebrity‘s chauffeur’s mother is delivering flowers — to whom and what does it mean?  (3)  “SO STAY WITH US AND GET THE TOTAL NEWS.”   Which means that five minutes of loud, obnoxious (if not ludicrous),  paid advertising is coming to your t.v. screen —  NOW!

To their credit, the tabloid genre doesn’t waste time with such inane creativity. They cut the hype and go straight to lurid, suggestive, prurient content with real (you-can-hardly-tell-they-were-photo-shopped) pictures IN COLOR — just in case the giant, outlandish headline didn’t catch your eye — and, a sort-of-story tailored to the photo.

I cannot shake the feeling that much of what the media offers is just illusion, a sop bloated with hidden messages and agendas that I am expected to blindly fulfill.  It is not a new feeling; rather, the same old one that induced my avoidance of newspapers, news programs, et cetera, for the past decade or so.  Embarking on this blog-cruise unavoidably causes me to allow media outlets access to my thought processes.  In remorse, I am wondering…

“Is it too late to jump ship?”

Next up:  It’s not my fault!

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Yellow Journalism

Posted on May 6, 2012. Filed under: Journalism, language, Piss Ants | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Yellow journalismSensational news-reporting.  A style of journalism that makes unscrupulous use of scandalous, lurid or sensational stories to attract readers.  Media using this style, collectively, are referred to as Yellow Press

Well, the definition speaks for itself.  Out of today’s enormous field of journalistic enterprises, those dealing in “sensation” stand out like a tart at a nuns’ convention.  They are too easy to spot, but, then, it’s not like they’re really trying to hide, since being noticed is the goal.  Today we call them tabloids… celebrity updates… the evening news…

Not just fringe media.  Even the big boys of broadcast lean to the lurid, pretend “news.”  Most recently, down in a big city on the Gulf Coast, there was this hit-and-run thing;  actually, it was an alleged sideswipe of a parked car (not a collision, not a fender bender, not an injury) at low speed in a parking zone as one driver, allegedly, tried to leave a bar.  How many hundreds of those happen every month without making the local evening news? 

But the owner of the scraped car said he saw who did it, and, it was mmffmnfm lxrrmfs, a well-known conservative talk show host.  Hot dog!  NOW, we got some news.

After the story broke, by  golly, we got some bona fide video that (allegedly) places our subject at an establishment in the area.  Look, there he is,  alone, carrying a bottle (beer?) and making his way toward the exit.  That’s all that’s in the video.  Can’t tell which, or what kind of, establishment.  So, all we got so far is a scraped car and a witness who says he saw who did it, video footage apparently showing the named suspect leaving someplace (his only companion a… beer?… bottle) with the time-stamp just before the alleged time of the alleged damage.  Those are the facts, ma’am.

BUT WAIT!  THERE’S MORE!  The security footage, according to the voice-over, is said to be from a nearby bar.  Not impressed?  Get this:  it is a bar frequented by GAY persons.  Thus, the moniker “gay bar.”  Every time we (remember?… we…   the stupid masses?) were updated on the “ongoing investigation,”  we also got to hear the term GAY BAR vigorously delivered at least 5 times per update in association with the name of this alleged heinous perpetrator.  Never did  find out if the subject was:  gay, married, a father, a Catholic, agnostic, football fan, Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, evolutionist, a brother, an Elk, marathon runner, vegetarian, or even if he was hungry a lot.  Any and all of those  are as relevant to the alleged property damage as the fact that there was a gay bar nearby.  Not relevant, but, by golly, loudly proclaiming GAY BAR just had to keep audiences glued to the television.  It must have been the first high for those ALLEGED reporters since they got to say “penis” over and over some years ago on the morning, afternoon , and evening news hours.

Remember cars rigged by a documentary producer to explode when impacted by another vehicle to “prove” car manufacturer negligence?  How about the super market chain selling out-of-date meats, only, it was the “reporter” who switched labels on the packaging?  [Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”   -Sir Walter Scot]

Next:  Does the yellow ever go away?

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