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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