Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Weapon of Mass Instruction

Two Thoughts for Tuesday

Thought #1

I am thinking that the most powerful weapon on the planet...no more than that really....the UNIVERSE is the power of the media.   It seems that within minutes of anything happening the media is all over it.  AND not necessarily in a good way.   News programs have wafted into editorial programs.  What might otherwise just be a report of an event turns into inferences of who is right and who is wrong, who might be responsible and who might be the victim or hero as the case may be.

Recently, I was taking a personality assessment test (related to work) that asked the question "Do you consider that most people can be easily led and tend to follow the pack?"  I customarily would scream out "Hell, yes, no doubt about it.... but that particular answer wasn't among my choices.  I picked a answer in the middle as I am a coward and don't want to come across as a total cynic (even though that should be apparent to anyone that has ever talked to me). Are any of us so naive that we would think that the majority of us are truly independent thinkers? 

Take for example, the media coverage of the missing baby in Kansas City, Lisa Irwin.  Now, I haven't got a clue as to what happened to the little girl  but nor will I understand the bizarre twists that seem to be revealed daily that are linked to this tragic event.  No sooner was the Amber Alert issued, then  quickly removed that stories started coming out about problems between the police and the baby's parents.  Within a day or two of the story breaking, a local man was on the news saying he had volunteered to join in a search group for the little girl but there wasn't one to join.  The reason there weren't search parties was due to the fact that on the  preceding night the local news venues were saying that the parents were being uncooperative.   A day later when the news programs reported that the parents were again talking to the police, the search was back on.  It appears that the public interest/involvement peaks and ebbs according to the positivity or negativity of the reports involving the parents.

My point is that an inaccurate or biased slant on a story can turn the direction on how the public perceives, reacts and judges any and all events.  A news story can quickly turn someone into a villain or a hero. They can be made into someone being idolized or despised. 


Thought #2

Aren't I glad that my life isn't subject to constant media reporting.  I would hate to think that every misstep I ever took was broadcasted on the nightly news.   That would be especially true if the story was reported from a biased point of view.  Still, it would be lovely if I was the equivalent of "one of Ophrah's favorite things" or one of Kate Middleton-Windsor's outfits where everyone just wanted to love all that is Cheryl P.

Alas, my life is fairly small...no big media blitzes to hype my products, my style or my philosophies.  I don't have hoards of people trying to emulate my every move nor do I have any really big salacious stories that would make front page news in the gossip rags....my dirty laundry  is really

What are your thoughts?  Is the media setting the tone for the positive outcome or the derailment of any given event?????   If you were the subject of a media blitz, do you think you would come across as the hero or the villain?  Would you be the beloved celebrity or would you come across as the "not to be trusted"?

The Good for the day...That we have access to the news that is important.

The Bad for the Day....the hype and media that makes vapid celebrities famous.

The Weird for the Day....The media circus that creates the interest in million dollar weddings that lead to marriages that last 72 days. That, my blogees, could be a whole other discussion.


Bob S said...

Wow! Now you picked a topic where I am really conflicted. I cannot tell if reporters are lazy or simply not up to the task of thinking about what they are reporting. On at least two occasions I have had the dubious honor of being close to a story that did make the papers. Yet when I read what made it to print I had the distinct feeling that we were at two separate events.

Then too, I wonder what changes are made by the editors. When I was in the service we were intercepting wire service transmissions from the Far East back to the U.S.. Some involved the overthrow of the Sukarno government in 1965. I was amazed to see the dramatic differences between what the foreign offices were reporting and what was being reported in the U.S. press. People back here had no idea what was really going on.

Ironically, the most accurate reporting I ever saw in print was in the Stars & Stripes. Since it was done by the government I doubted its accuracy. But, I was in a position at the time to know what was really going on in some world matters and it proved to be far and away the best source for real information. This was especially true facts surrounding the "Gulf of Tonkin incident".

I could go on and on. But, this is enough. I do think the news has a great impact on how people feel about a subject and consequently how they would react to volunteer or not when people were in trouble. And, no, I would not want to be the object of a news blitz. I'm really not sure how I would come across.

Great post. You really got to me on this one.

AngelBaby said...

I am so with you on this! The media does not know how to report just the news without giving how they feel about it. They have started riots and all kinds of things for no reason except ratings. It is just unbelievable the stuff they do and say! I do not want to get in the news or be famous it is safer to stay under the radar! LOL!

Thank you for your comment and your kinds words. I appreciate all of your prayers and support while I am going through this.

Here's your click .........

Love and Blessings,

Cheryl P. said...

Hi Bob S.

Interesting that you have been close to stories that you have the insight to know the "real" story. I, too, have been close to stories, later to read the distorted facts in the paper or heard a version that is off the mark on the news.

Sometimes I think it is just like gossip....it changes each time it is told. Either the listener is not hearing it right or the relayer of the information isn't being clear in their telling of the facts.

In the mainstream news though, it is all about grabbing the attention of the public. Ratings are paramount. This morning I saw a headline (on the Internet) inferring a child was in danger from a BIG cat. The intro said something about not to open the link if you were faint of heart. It was a picture of a child at the zoo looking through a glass enclosure. WHAT? Faint of heart??? Danger?

But the listeners/readers are a fickle bunch, I think. They are led to pick a team according to how the story is presented. I would hate to be the target of a news story. Wether you were portrayed as the sympathetic party or a villian might be out of your control.

I always love to hear your take on things.

Cheryl P. said...

Isn't that the truth about the media often is the fuel that starts the firestorm of whatever they are reporting about. Sometimes they need to just keep things calm and under control but in their quest for ratings they sensationalize the story and stir the pot.

Take care and I hope you have a great week. I will catch up with you on your blog as I can.

Bodaciousboomer said...

Since I tend to think I 'm special, beloved. Please agree.

Nicky said...

This is a real chicken and egg issue to me. Did the media start sensationalizing news, or did they just respond to what the general public was crying for? They wouldn't publish or air it if the collective "we" didn't tune in.

Now, as for that "...where everyone just wanted to love all that is Cheryl P.", I know I'm not everyone, but I love all that is Cheryl P. Does that make you feel a little better? I didn't think so. :-)

Wolfbernz said...

Hi Cheryl

I think the media does what it thinks is necessary to bring up ratings no matter what the cost, what a shame and shame on them.

I only hope if I were in a media blitz i was the hero, I do what I can to be a better person each day.

Great post, Clicks

Trina said...

I think if I were portrayed on TV - especially Reality TV - would be a villain. I have a tendency to say exactly what I think and it rarely comes out the polite way it sounds in my head. I hate to say it, but a villain I would be even though I really do think I'm a good person (and my bluntness helps sometimes)

It's sad about those parents - I don't know what's going on there (no TV here) but they are in a bad position. Say something and be blamed... don't say anything and be blamed... either way they've lost their kid and it's crap that people weren't going to even try looking.


oldereyes said...

I think we have become a nation of voyeurs ... and the media, ever conscious of ratings, is only too happy to oblige. And, as a result, many people want theie 15 minutes of fame, even in the midst of tragedy. In such a situation, I would probably refuse to talk to media and they'd probably conclude I was hiding something. I think real news is more or less a lost art. Last night, in the middle of the 11:00 news, we got a report on Dancing with the Stars. Pathetic.

Cheryl P. said...

I do agree. I am sure that if you appeared on a news report we would all think you were the hero. What would the breaking story be????

Cheryl P. said...

You are absolutely right on the "public crys out for the sensationalized stories" The media just can't pedal the gossip and trash quick enough to appease the public. Of course, then everyone says that they just abhor the antics of the celebrity whores. If this stuff didn't sell magazines, newspapers and get lots of TV watchers, it wouldn't be out there for very long.

You are sweet, my friend Nicky. I would say that "all that is Cheryl P." is pretty dull stuff. Right now all that is me has a horrific cold. ACCCHHHOOO. I am not fit to be around.

Cheryl P. said...

If you had a news story about you, it would have to contain the fact that you work so hard and you are so diverse in your interests. I think it would be an interesting story and we would all be jealous.

I have no doubt that you would come off as the hero.

Cheryl P. said...

I think being blunt is often misinterpreted but I respect people that aren't afraid to state their point of view. As with all things, it depends on who is your audience. It seems that if people agree with your point of view, you are perceived a genius but it they disagree you are percieved as a idiot (or worse). I, too, would rather state my opinion and not over worry what people think of me. Of course, in my case, I probably am wavering between several points of view.

Cheryl P. said...

Absolutely...voyeurs. The number of reality shows bears out that we feed upon the antic of others (often bizarre, bad behaving others). Truly, if the masses weren't consumed with the likes of the Kardashians and such all of that type of media would disappear.

You are right, as well about the conudrum of talking= guilt and not talking = guilt. I think basically it boils down to... if you appear likable you stand a better chance in the court of public opinion. I would hate to be on trial. I think I come across more analytical than I do "fun". I probably would be one of those going to prison for something I didn't do. I hope I am never falsely accused of anything.

DWTS...really? What has become of the news?

meleahrebeccah said...

"My point is that an inaccurate or biased slant on a story can turn the direction on how the public perceives, reacts and judges any and all events.  A news story can quickly turn someone into a villain or a hero. They can be made into someone being idolized or despised. "

you are 10000000% right about that.

Is the media setting the tone for the positive outcome or the derailment of any given event?????  

Good question.

If you were the subject of a media blitz, do you think you would come across as the hero or the villain? 

I guess that would depend on the TOPIC.

Would you be the beloved celebrity or would you come across as the "not to be trusted"?

I 'd like to think beloved!

Bodaciousboomer said...

Woman runs amok after surgical mishap and kills surgeon...

Mike said...

I was going to say something along those lines too. It's really all about selling news, and although a lot of us don't like to admit it, we read the frivolous stuff too. I don't think that makes us into hypocrites, more that it's up to the individual to know when to take some news with a grain of salt. Definitely makes for entertainment when we don't feel like thinking too hard.

Cheryl P. said...

You have really summed it up, Mike. We all listen to the gossip because it is frivolous and entertaining. We don't have to think too hard about it or take it too seriously. That is much better than having to listen to things like job loss, poverty, politics, environment...all the things that have us worrying ourselves sick about.

Leah Griffith said...

Oh boy Cheryl, could I go off on this one! The media is such a powerful force whose soul intent is to slant the thinking of the masses in a certain direction. The direction varies like the wind.

I refuse to watch commercials and promptly hit the pause button when they come on. This type of media is often insulting and sexist. I won't go there either.

It's a tricky thing to listen to or read the latest news because all we have are biased reports. How can we come to an educated conclusion based on such slippery info?

Yeah...annoyed is an understatement.

Jayne said...

I remember the TV news when it was an independent department and considered the crown jewel by each of the 3 (and only 3) networks. The news departments weren't expected to get ratings. Then they were merged into each network's entertainment department and everything changed. That's why we have the crap that tries to pass for serious journalism today. I'm happy that I lived during Cronkite and Huntley/Brinkley's time. Now the "news" divisions answer to their corporate masters and we get only the information they want us to have. And an ill-informed public is key to the corporate control of this country that we see now.

Cheryl P. said...

Oh, Meleah, I am sure you would come across as beloved. I would watch your program if you would become a news anchor person.

Cheryl P. said...

You and I are so on the same page. I, too, am annoyed. I can't make it thru a news program without refuting half of what is said. There shouldn't be a two way dialog when there is only one person in the room.

Cheryl P. said...

As you and I are pretty close to the same age, I think we have the perspective of "how it used to be" and that taints "how it is now". You're absolutely right about the merging the entertainment dept. with the news dept. forced the "spinning" of the news to make it entertaining. Sort of the equivalent of poetic license taken in writing to make it more fun to read. It may not be factual but certainly more exciting.

Maybe the news programs just need to scroll " this is a dramactic representation of the actual events" across the bottom of the screen.

Jayne said...

It took the MSM weeks to cover OWS. But the Kardashian divorce?

I will miss Andy Rooney.

meleahrebeccah said...

Awwww! Thank you.