Myth: Vendor Overcharges to Government (Part 1)

Posted on March 23, 2013. Filed under: Journalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

5th in the series The Manipulators

Your words for the day:

  • The Great Unwashed = another euphemism for the general public; you know, the masses of political philosophy
  • schtick = that act each of us adopts to get through this brief, but trying, thing called life
  • yellow journalism = lurid, outlandish, and inflammatory “reporting”
  • tabloid tactics = see “yellow journalism”

Who hasn’t heard it?  A high-profile vendor OVERCHARGES some government agency.  A contractor (another word for vendor) submits UNAUTHORIZED CHARGES to the Defense Department.  Big business uses federal BAIL OUT MONEY to give millions IN BONUSES to its top executives.

Who hasn’t agreed with the Media that “this is some bad stuff” costing the taxpayers some serious money?  Such information releases are directed at us, The Great Unwashed, by journalists who adopt the persona of experts-in-all-matters-deemed-beneficial to “public awareness.”  The Press ( with the big P) has only the best interest of the public in mind as it strokes those proven hot buttons of public perception and pockets huge gate receipts as we, the public sheep, ante up for our tickets to their carnival sideshow.

I, like everyone else in this Society of The Great Unwashed, can be as gullible as anyone.  Do you purchase every rag sheet, tabloid, gaudy magazine, and newspaper that your gaze falls upon?  Or, do you simply note and absorb the blaring headline that, in a few words, engraves an impression into your consciousness?  You realize that analysis of the story line may actually say something different from that headline, but few of us have the will to read and analyze every bit of “news” that inundates us daily.  We are content to remember the “knee-jerk” stimulus and to secretly enjoy the “kick” we derived from it.

The good news is that, although gullible, we of the Great Unwashed are not overly stupid (even though, at any given moment, there are enough of us acting stupidly enough to imply an endemic class trait).  That means that all of us, from time to time, get to peek behind the stage curtain and get a glimpse of The Great and Powerful Oz,* and, by golly, realize that ol’ Oz is really just another one of us –The Great Unwashed — wearing the robes of deception…   ah, journalism…   I mean the robes of journalism.

Our “trusted” news sources are nothing more than fellow gullibles who got a paying job just like the rest of us.  Unlike the rest of us, they also got elevated to a higher plane of credibility, adopting the schtick of expert-in-everything (i.e., journalist).  As such, they drag with them the perception-skewing baggage of media-stressed common-knowledge they acquired when rubbing elbows with all of us lesser beings.  They just fatten up their own biases and make a buck out of it.  And, they call it “news.”

As the title of this article implies, my current axe to grind is the media staple of “big business’s gouging of government agencies for taxpayer money.”  I call it a media-perpetuated myth because of several reasons:

  • It takes two to tango
  • You get what you pay for
  • The paper trail
  • Caveat emptor

To perpetuate this myth and stir the media-purchasing public to…   well…   purchase…   media offerings, those realities are ignored by The Big Pee.  Instead, they go for a morality play wherein they decide who will be the villain and who will be the victim, while presenting themselves as the champion of what is right and good.  Basically, it is just yellow journalism and tabloid tactics to turn a buck…   and win some award, maybe.  But, mostly, it is just to make a buck.

Ignorance on the part of both the public and the writers is what gives this story line its perennial appeal.  The expert-in-everything journalist presents his story from the view of someone in the know, and the public (that be us) — freely confessing its ignorance on the matter — sits at the foot of the master, eagerly tossing coins into his tin cup.

_____________________

* The Big P

_____________________

Next up:  The Myth (Part 2)  The Office Depot gets skewered

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Come to Papa, razzi

Posted on April 21, 2012. Filed under: History, Humor, Journalism, Piss Ants | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Cave men understood the value of the story.  In fact, they invented the concept of the wall as seen on today’s social sites.  The excitement of the hunt, if not the sheer necessity of it, got those cave journalists in the mood to go to press paint.  (Say what you will about stone painting as a medium, but it has sure outlasted last century’s newspaper.)  Look!  There’s the stampeding herd, the flight of spears in the air, jubilant hunters all around…   and a hand print?  Researchers have discussed the significance of that, but, maybe, it was just a count of the take on that hunt.  You know…   5.

They even had moving pictures of sorts.  Those caves were dark, except for the light of dying torches and hearths, and the cave walls rough and uneven.  Together, the light and wall texture composed a lively show as the flickering flames sent shadows dancing across the paintings, imparting an almost supernatural feeling of motion right before all those sleepy eyes.  Every night, in the quiet time before sleep, the hunt — in motion and living color — was played out once again.  And, the narrator emphasizing, “We bagged five!”

We don’t do cave walls anymore.  We learned during the Renaissance how to do it right.  We want wall art, we just build a big, stone cathedral, light it with flickering torches and/or oil lamps, hire a da Vinci or Michelangelo, and watch those guys laboriously pound, grind, and mix select ingredients into just the right colors and textures, then turn ’em loose on those walls and ceilings.  WAIT!  THIS JUST IN:  a couple of cases of spray paint, a half-dozen taggers, a city-full of walls and overhead structures just waiting for proper treatment…   and someone in authority saying, “Don’t you dare!”  Actually, with that last example, there isn’t much story line, just lurid, flashy colors,, maybe even some drawings, but, basically, just meaningless stuff that shouts, “Hey, looky here!”  Which brings us to paparazzi and tabloids.

Paparazzo (singular of paparazzi, which is plural of paparazzo) is a character in a movie (La Dolce Vida – 1959) who was an obnoxious celebrity-chaser with a camera and a nose for scandalous and prurient news items.  “Obnoxious” in the sense that he got into people’s faces with that flash bulb and saw/reported only a salacious perspective in every activity in which the stalked celebrity engaged.  Subsequently, that name came to be applied to an entire class of…   can we say photo journalists?…   who regularly stalk and ambush celebrities as they go about their daily activities.  Privacy invasion (with those super telephoto lenses) is no biggie with them.  Nor is a shot in the mouth from a pissed-off celebrity who does not want the individual and his camera getting into the cab with him/her, or preventing her/him from exiting the cab.

Tabloids seem to be the place where all those paparazzi shots are displayed (including the one in the mouth).  Whether the photo journalist submits a story with the hard-won pictures or a tabloid “reporter” reviews the pix, then makes up a story from sketchy information provided by the submitter is a mystery rivaling “Sasquatch” and the “yeti.”  Or, maybe no one is consulted; a photo is submitted and a random story from file…   or somewhere…   is tacked onto it.  Like the old dime novels from the 1800’s that glorified famous and infamous celebrities of the time, an ongoing drama surrounding the big name is fabricated and published as a “developing” story.  Really, how many more times can I believe that Angie and Brad are splitting up?

Next up:  Veracity and responsibility

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...