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Author Topic: Sensationalist Media?  (Read 743 times)

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Online MithlomwenTopic starter

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Sensationalist Media?
« on: December 16, 2012, 12:31:31 PM »
Morgan Freeman said this yesterday regarding the tragedy in Connecticut. 

Quote
TURN OFF THE NEWS.......

Morgan Freeman's brilliant take on what happened yesterday :

"You want to know why. This may sound cynical, but here's why.

It's because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single *victim* of Columbine? Disturbed
people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children? Because he'll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.

CNN's article says that if the body count "holds up", this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow make one shooting worse than another. Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer's face on all their reports for hours. Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer's identity? None that I've seen yet. Because they don't sell. So congratulations, sensationalist media, you've just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next.

You can help by forgetting you ever read this man's name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem. You can help by turning off the news."

Let me be clear here, I do not wish to discuss the actual tragedy, the subject I'd like to discuss is sensationalist media. 

I agree with a lot of what Morgan has said.  Violence and sadness sells.  It's sad, but it does.  Something like this happens, and it's on every news channel, people are being bombarded with images and stories of what happened. 

But what I want to know is.....why?

Why was it necessary to stick a camera and a microphone in the face of someone that had just learned they'd lost a child?  Why was it necessary to interview a CHILD in the moments after the event and ask them to describe what they heard and saw?  Why was it necessary to post pictures of grieving parents and loved ones? 

What happened to privacy?  What happened to protecting the victims? 

As a society we should respect their privacy.  To allow them to grieve and heal in peace.  We should allow the children who survived the time to grieve and come to terms with what has happened, and help them if we can.  We should not ask them to relive the events again and again to bolster ratings. 

Within hours the grounds around the school were a beehive of TV vans and satellites, reporters camped out for the days that were to follow, interviewing and snapping shots of anyone they could find. 

Why? 

Will it help us to understand why it happened?  Will it bring any of those precious little lives back? 

Why have we gotten so bad in this society that we sensationalize sick individuals like the killers?  I refuse to post his name as he is not worthy of remembering. 

I just don't understand.   


« Last Edit: December 16, 2012, 12:32:51 PM by Mithlomwen »

Offline Ryven

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Re: Sensationalist Media?
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2012, 12:36:44 PM »
http://www.snopes.com/politics/guns/newtown.asp

According to snopes, he didn't say that.  It was attributed to him to make it seem more credible or to hold more weight because of his fame and notoriety.  I think this fits right in though with your topic of sensationalism.

Online MithlomwenTopic starter

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Re: Sensationalist Media?
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2012, 12:56:30 PM »
http://www.snopes.com/politics/guns/newtown.asp

According to snopes, he didn't say that.  It was attributed to him to make it seem more credible or to hold more weight because of his fame and notoriety.  I think this fits right in though with your topic of sensationalism.

Yup I'd say it does.

Offline Ryven

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Re: Sensationalist Media?
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2012, 01:03:04 PM »
Part of me is sad at claiming ignorance for not keeping up on current events.  I hardly ever read or watch the news.  Another part of me is glad because I don't get sucked into the web is misinformation, emotional outburst, and tragic reporting.  It seems like the media only covers stories of tragedy and hardship.  I'm quite surprised that my optimism for humanity is still going strong.

Offline Moraline

Re: Sensationalist Media?
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2012, 01:03:48 PM »
Michael Moore touches on this topic in his documentary - Bowling for Columbine.

I think the question is: Is it the media that's sensationalistic or the society that we live in that is?

Why does the media get up in peoples faces to ask questions at inappropriate times? (etc...) Vs. Why is it that we give them the highest ratings when they do it?



Offline ExisD

Re: Sensationalist Media?
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2012, 02:07:45 PM »
I blame the advent of 24-hour news for this. Before it came about it was possible to wait to report on something. Now though if they want to make money off of a story they need to be among the first to report on it. If they are actually first then they are the only ones people can go to in order to find out what happened.

For the most part people won't watch something on the news that they already know about so privacy and respect for the victims of a tragedy fall to the wayside in favor of profits.

It's the same reason that, using this incident as an example, information is given out before its confirmed. When all that matters is how many people view your channel facts don't matter as much as speed. If something is incorrect there can always be an apology later, but someone else will run those incorrect facts and take viewers away.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Sensationalist Media?
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2012, 02:52:48 PM »
It's become harder to keep to a high baseline level in reporting, news print, broadcasting, and stick to the line "we're not gonna let the nutjobs, the haters or the overly emotional stuff get a free ride within our reporting". In the age of 24-hour reporting and updating, one particular editorial board or one channel will really only want to avoid bringing exploitative and drama-queenish people in *if* they feel they know that the programs they are directly competing with are not going to pick up the interviewees they filtered off, the kind of reporting they chose not to make.If they feel the breath behind their necks all the time, they're likely to bring some of that, um, low-quality reporting in too, to keep their viewers or readers with them.

I think editorial boards have become sloppier at fact checking too. It's very plain with some newspapers, papers that used to be serious and hardworking in their reporting: they won't check bits of a story, or background facts, any longer if somebody who seems to be hot news tells them "this is how it happened". And they don't pose follow-up questions either if they're interviewing someone, expecially not a celebrity or powerful person. The guy interviewed just gets an open run at doing their own peptalk. That's to do with slimmed down staff and cost-cutting at the newspapers and tv shows, but also with how these are often sitting in the lap of the publicity agents or showbiz firms who control interview ops: you won't quarrel with Madonna during an interview if you think, or your bosses think, that a couple uppity questions could mean there will be no interviews next time she releases something. Or that Liz Rosenberg will cut your access to many of the *other* stars she represents for having been disrespectful. So reporting tends to get glamourized and emotional.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2012, 03:02:40 PM by gaggedLouise »

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: Sensationalist Media?
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2012, 03:14:24 PM »
I notice a serious lack of bothering past our borders.. I saw NO serious attention to events of merit.

For example.. (a few years back) Hugo Chavez was highjacking his countries constitution to ensure he could stay in power. The protestors were being beaten by 'mysterious men in motorcycle helmets' that were let through the police cordon.. but what was the 'BIG NEWS' item of that day? Would Paris Hilton be required to appear at her own DUI trial or stay on house arrest. They had on the moemnt helicopter surviellance of her house during the event.

I haven't watched the non-local news since the elections so I don't know if Chavez' recent hospitalization in cuba

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Re: Sensationalist Media?
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2012, 03:33:05 PM »
"If it bleeds it reads."

It's a slogan attributed to the media time and again.  I blame the media who panders to the greed of those who want more and more drama in their news.  They entertain the crowds who stand outside a building and encourage a distraught person to jump.  The feed the masses who won't turn away from the sights such as Newtown.  The audience wants entertainment and the media wants money.  The masses are the crowds in the arena turning their thumbs down because they want the blood.  There is not decency in most of the media only greed.  There is little decency in politics.  The governor of Connecticut went to the families first in private and sent a spokesperson to face the cameras.  Other politicians began their campaigns for their political agendas.  Mayor Bloomberg made sure speak about his opinions as did many other elected officials within hours of the tragedy and those are the sound bites that are played over and over.

Power, arrogance and money but most of all money drive the media.

Blood lust and a lack of humanity drive the audience they entertain.


Offline Skynet

Re: Sensationalist Media?
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2012, 07:20:00 PM »
It's become harder to keep to a high baseline level in reporting, news print, broadcasting, and stick to the line "we're not gonna let the nutjobs, the haters or the overly emotional stuff get a free ride within our reporting". In the age of 24-hour reporting and updating, one particular editorial board or one channel will really only want to avoid bringing exploitative and drama-queenish people in *if* they feel they know that the programs they are directly competing with are not going to pick up the interviewees they filtered off, the kind of reporting they chose not to make.If they feel the breath behind their necks all the time, they're likely to bring some of that, um, low-quality reporting in too, to keep their viewers or readers with them.

I think editorial boards have become sloppier at fact checking too. It's very plain with some newspapers, papers that used to be serious and hardworking in their reporting: they won't check bits of a story, or background facts, any longer if somebody who seems to be hot news tells them "this is how it happened". And they don't pose follow-up questions either if they're interviewing someone, expecially not a celebrity or powerful person. The guy interviewed just gets an open run at doing their own peptalk. That's to do with slimmed down staff and cost-cutting at the newspapers and tv shows, but also with how these are often sitting in the lap of the publicity agents or showbiz firms who control interview ops: you won't quarrel with Madonna during an interview if you think, or your bosses think, that a couple uppity questions could mean there will be no interviews next time she releases something. Or that Liz Rosenberg will cut your access to many of the *other* stars she represents for having been disrespectful. So reporting tends to get glamourized and emotional.

This is one of several reasons I don't really focus on television news networks.  I'm also not happy that talk show hosts and ideologically biased media outlets masquerading are treated as legitimate news stations, despite their huge track records of factual inaccuracies (and being brazenly unapologetic about it as well).  US news networks focus too much on celebrity gossip, and report on things which "could be" instead of "what has happened."

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Sensationalist Media?
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2012, 08:13:40 PM »
This is one of several reasons I don't really focus on television news networks.  I'm also not happy that talk show hosts and ideologically biased media outlets masquerading are treated as legitimate news stations, despite their huge track records of factual inaccuracies (and being brazenly unapologetic about it as well).  US news networks focus too much on celebrity gossip, and report on things which "could be" instead of "what has happened."


Totally agree. A few points I see as bottom line rules for a newspaper or tv news station to be worth its price (or the time to read/watch it):

1. I don't want to hear just comments that could have been heard over a drink with the neighbours or a coffee break at work. With pro reporting and paid comments it's got to be something substantially more than that, more initiated, more in-depth, better written.
2. NO fictionalized reports of stuff that only happened in the journalist's or pundit's head, or PR writers and ideologically driven folks (think-tanks, political bloggers, minister's spokesmen etc) clearly picking shots at their favourite straw men without getting called out on it. Or more on the silly side, invented interviews or pretend reports with/by long dead famous people about current news or fashion trends.
3. If you're writing a dozen pages about the reality tv show instalments that went on air in the last two days, and "what really happened when the cameras were not running" (though it actually happened months ago when the series was shot, it's told as if it ocurred yesterday) tell it to somebody else, I'm not paying.
4. No pandering to celebrities or executives who are doing "storytelling" or defending what they did last week and getting a free run.
5. Words like "shocked", "humiliated", "owned", "wrestling it out", "knocked out in public" when one is reporting about fairly ordinary brushes or rethorical flourishes during a tv debate don't belong.

And the trouble is, most big newspapers are breaking some or all of those rules all the time...

Back right on topic, just saw that the UK Daily Mail has a big article out called When Death came to Sandy Hook, a minute-by-minute account, written like a story up close and with the dead kids and their teachers as front persons, illustrated with big portrait pics of the children. Talk about tasteless and speculative pseudo-reporting.  >:(
« Last Edit: December 16, 2012, 10:32:17 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Serephino

Re: Sensationalist Media?
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2012, 10:38:46 PM »
I really don't understand why people insist on picking every little detail to death.  It's kind of pissing me off that the last three days my yahoo homepage news is nothing but different articles about the shooting.  Why can't they leave it alone?  How are people ever supposed to heal and move on with reporters constantly picking at the wounds for ratings?  It's disgusting.

My boyfriend and I have talked about this before.  Every time something bad happens it's impossible to avoid hearing about it for days on end.  Not only that, but it's the same facts over and over again until something new is found out.  Sorry, but I don't care about every little detail of the shooter's childhood.  Analyzing every little thing to death does no one any good.  Hindsight is 20/20, so of course people are going to see how troubled he was now.  How's about we as a country start putting a little more effort in recognizing problems before they lead to something like this?  Every single time people come forward and say they noticed stuff, but didn't do anything or say anything to help the person.  If you're mentally ill you're a freak nobody wants anything to do with, that is, until you pull a stunt that shocks the hell out of everyone.  Then TV shrinks start analyzing you for everyone glued to the program.

Whoever wrote that pretty much hit the nail on the head.  People who do this become infamous instead of nobodies.  The media wouldn't do this shit if there wasn't a demand for it, so turn the news off.  I agree with that completely.  It happened, and it's horrible.  Either try to help, or leave the people alone.  Seriously...  /rant 

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Sensationalist Media?
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2012, 11:22:47 PM »
Quite frankly, I'd be happy with a bullet list of news facts that I could check from time to time. I'm really not interested in the opinion and bullshit that news reporters spew in order to fill the time. I don't need the armchair analysis of psuedo-psychologists who've never spoken to the subjects in question. Sadly, I find more amusement in counting the logical fallacies committed by news folks and *experts* than in their stories.

One thing that bothers me is all the crying and grief that's displayed. I don't oppose the show of emotion, but I'm not sure I agree with highlighting it so much. They did this on 911 - everyone was shown crying and wailing about their lost loved ones.  I'm not trying to knock those who grieved, but the coverage seemed unbalanced. I felt like it was fodder for those who were are enemies at the time. If you hurt me, I won't give you the pleasure of letting you see me suffer. Highlighting  the grief and loss seems to violate this personal principal.

Is the news media trying to help potential criminals learn to empathize with the victims?  Are they doing this because emotions sell better? Perhaps shocked, saddened people are more likely to respond to certain ads, or to stay tuned in for more?  I'm undecided on this.... it doesn't smell right.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2012, 11:30:17 PM by TaintedAndDelish »

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Sensationalist Media?
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2012, 03:40:08 AM »
I think the question is: Is it the media that's sensationalistic or the society that we live in that is?

Why does the media get up in peoples faces to ask questions at inappropriate times? (etc...) Vs. Why is it that we give them the highest ratings when they do it?

It's little of column A, little of column B.  I mean, let's face it, if people didn't WANT to know and talk about it, the news would not report it in any way.

And the sad part of it is as long as we've had a news system (whether it be word of mouth, or something more structured, like Fox and ABC) we've always been about gossip.  Most recently (as in the last 3-400 years or so) it starts in high school, and never really ends.  High school it's all about the cliques, who's sleeping with whom, what sexuality people are, who's doing drugs, who you THINK is doing drugs, who got what cars and what they did to get it, and every thing you get to see in a magazine, but normally contained into that school.  When you get out into the big bad world, all of a sudden there are Magazines on this stuff, TV shows about more 'glamorous people', what we call 'celebrities', the stage expands.

I means seriously, we're still talking about the Kardashians, and what have they done?  Seriously, what HAVE they done?  I can't recall, but I hear/see their names whenever I scan the magazines (Pretty colours attract my eyes, huzzah for ADHD.  Moving on.)  We as a people like to gossip, and ever since Fox has been able to 'spin' it the way they want, (and this is not Fox's 'fault' so much as them knowing their audience) other news programs are now more blatant about it.

Thing is, everyone spins their own edge to it.

I'm pretty sure North America remembers the whole Canadian Special Forces incident in Somalia.  Canada disbanded it's special forces unit for the acts of just 3 soldiers.  Just three.  But CNN made it out to some big conspiracy that actually affected the rest of the world's view on Canada.  But let's not mention the facts that Belgium soldiers were shooting at Somalis that 'came too close'.  They reportedly killed more civilians trying to keep the Somalis away from their encampments.  But does that make international news?  Nope.  CNN (in this case) decided that it was all about Canada.

Everyone wants to put a 'spin' on it, so people will remember it, and in the case of news agencies, keep their names in people's minds.

Offline despickable

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Re: Sensationalist Media?
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2012, 07:32:08 AM »
I don't care who the shooter is or was, or how he was bought up. I don't give a stuff about his mother or the background of the family What I care and feel sad about is there are children who won't be unwrapping their presents this year. Won't be jumping on the bed Christmas morning excited about what Santa brought them. Families who for years after the news trucks are gone and peddling another tragedy and making money from it, years after every Christmas will remind these parents of the loss of their little one.

look, okay, the news has to report a story, and this is news , but as so many others have said above, there is a time to stop  with the reports. Stop glorifying these patetic losers and making inspiration to some other crackpot  from oneupmanship.

Here in Australia we banned the owning of guns after one of the very rare incidents of multiple shooting occurred in Tasmania. The person responsible is still rotting in jail, and had an appeal for release refused. He is not seen as a hero and the victims are remembered.
Our media is not shy at sensationalising either, but most Aussies take what they say with a grain of salt
I can't see gun control ever working in the USA a black man taking the rights of a white man to carry guns, would be way too radical. But it's time to stop watching the news. If it don't rate  then it wont be on.
I would rather have stories about the Kardashians on , which i don't care a monkey's about either, than to have the sensationalist one sided views of the news media making money from others misfortune and sadness.

If you have kids give them an extra hug  per day. Buy them an extra gift or send a gift to those kids in need. Make your own news It can't bring back the little souls lost, but it might help heal the soul of the nation and the world.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2012, 07:33:09 AM by despickable »

Offline band in the rain

Re: Sensationalist Media?
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2013, 03:46:58 PM »
Media is essentially the equivalent of our societal mind having horrible depression and allowing things to happen with a "what next?" attitude. Media loves its crime stories, its "this could be you" dialogue, and the new terrible thing to talk about. All the while we raise people to let others with more power handle things, and not to be bold, while cultivating rudeness and hatred as what's funny.

Hell, it even has unrealistic standards for us all to feel bad about, along with statuses to be resigned to. It's rude and sorry for itself.

At least here in America. How are things further out in more reasonable territory?
« Last Edit: January 11, 2013, 03:52:03 PM by band in the rain »