A few weeks ago, I came into the apartment to find my husband watching NY1. NY1 is a channel owned by Spectrum/TimeWarner Cable and is specifically for NYC. They were most famously parodied on the show “How I Met Your Mother” when they used to show the morning newscaster reading aloud the headlines from the daily papers…so yes, that is true, we do indeed have a news channel where the anchor reads the headlines…
On the station that morning was a politician, let’s call the Politician Cuthbert. Cuthbert was having a press conference and was fielding questions from reporters. I watched the broadcast live and saw exactly what was said unedited. Cuthbert said some rather controversial things.
After the press conference NY1 asked some people for their reaction. They chose another politician from the same party as Cuthbert. Politician A stated- “I think Cuthbert needs to rethink what they said because I don’t think Cuthbert understands exactly what is going on and how best to deal with it.” Very diplomatic.
NY1 then interviewed a regular person. Regular Person 1 said “I think Cuthbert is &^%$% nuts. Do they have any idea what they’re talking about? I think it’s time for Cuthbert to get out of dreamland and take a step back to reality” (this isn’t the exact quote but I summarized because RP1 was really crazy about what Cuthbert said.
So after seeing this press conference, and watching two people of the same party as Cuthbert disagree as the the approach, i decided to follow this story to see how it was portrayed in the media.
The next day I got Newspaper A. Newspaper A gave the story two paragraphs, below the fold, in the second section of the paper. They toned down what Cuthbert stated and didn’t give any direct quotes, just summarized the press conference, actually omitting the most controversial statement.
Newspaper B had it on page 3, big headline, mainly direct quotes of the press conference, minimum opinion, controversial statement in bold.
24 Hour news entertainment site C did not cover the story at all, or did it at such an odd time, or so minimally, the normal person might miss it.
24 hour news entertainment D made a very big deal about the story- highlighting the controversial statement.
We have entered an era where news is not reported, We have entered an era where figureheads decide exactly what stories will receive space during a broadcast or in print. The journalism basics of who, what, when where and how have evolved into
- who do we want to shine and who do we want to destroy
- what can we do to make this story more or less prominent
- where will this story create the most or least impact
- when can we drop a bombshell to switch focus to a different story
- why would we want to actually tell the truth
- how can we keep people glued to us so that our rating go up
A senior editor at a newspaper was fired for printing an op ed because the publishers did not like it because it went against what the paper said. It’s funny because I vaguely remember being taught that op ed means opposite the editorial page, and that things that appear here are usually in contrast to something the paper has printed. How do you let an editor go because they chose to print another view?
Can you trust anything printed or broadcast?
Do we need to watch actual live coverage of things in order to know exactly what was and wasn’t said?
Do we need to stop watching news entertainment, stop reading news/entertainment papers?”
At what point do ordinary people take back control of how stories are disseminated?
Can you believe anything said on any “news” platform?
Are we “allowed’ to have an opposite opinion, or is anyone with an opposing view deemed as “stupid”?
Is the news media more interested in offering opinions as opposed to facts?
Are the news media only interested in ratings?
I’ll leave you with this quote:
You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war
Do we actually need the clutter that is known as news media? Or can we rid our lives of it like expired food and broken objects?