MALAYSIAN AIRLINER: OATMEAL IS BETTER
It’s really embarrassing to watch the 24 hour news channels treat this story like it was some form pornography. The producers behind the scenes really do seem to be getting off on it in a twisted way complete with computer renderings and 3D inspired graphics. At this rate I’ve seen the flight path so many times of this missing airliner you could blindfold me and I’d be able to retrace it. This all reminds me of when a tornado destroys some small town in the mid-west and for weeks we have CNN, MSNBC and FOX all vying for some new angle, something extra to squeeze out of tragedy. The perfect shot of some crying toddler in front of her now decimated home that they can add to their reel of destruction which will lead into the next segment of death. But then again people watch this nonsense don’t they. That’s always the default answer isn’t it. Yes you’re right this is news and it deserves reporting. God knows the Malaysian government isn’t on top of things. But we don’t need an hour by hour, day after day coverage that goes on forever like the ending to the last Lord of the Rings movie (the original trilogy not those awful Hobbit prequels). There has been violent political protests in Venezuela that haven’t gotten a fraction of this attention. The world cup is coming to Brazil and there are legitimate concerns about the security of those games that nobody seems interested in addressing much. Even Russia invading the Ukraine is secondary when you count up the amount of air time that crisis has gotten compared to the Malaysian Airlines story. This is why I generally watch the PBS News Hour and read select journalists online. Jeff Zucker has basically turned CNN into a giant Twitter feed, MSNBC is the mouth piece for the White House that really doesn’t hold Obama accountable for much (I voted for him twice but come on the NSA scandal and drone policy demands much more aggressive push back), and then there’s FOX News…well World Wresting has more credibility than that channel but don’t argue that point with a large segment of their AARP card carrying base. This is all part of a larger issue in America our news and information outlets have become ad revenue obsessed conglomerates. Publishers and editors have always been aware of the dollars that part has always been hovering in the background. But these days it’s like someone infused the media with Barry Bond levels of performance enhancing Kool-Aid. The difference is the “performance” being juiced is a cabaret act with no root in substance. I know there are good reporters out there (except for FOX) and they’re trying to do the best they can in the current landscape. But they’re overwhelmed and sadly outnumbered. The latest eye rolling moment was Ronan Farrow getting a news show. Really? The powers that be will say this is what people want, this is what they expect, they’ll hold up ratings sheets to back their claims. You know what sometimes my 3 year old daughter wants chocolate for breakfast in the morning. But I don’t give in because it’s not good for her. No matter how many pie charts she holds up to make her case. In the end if you work in the business of informing the public you have a responsibility to educate. My hats off to Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill and Matt Taibi for breaking out of the mold and attempting to offer new outlets for those of us to actually read and be informed. Thank you to those of you saying no to candy in the morning and instead put a bowl of oatmeal in front of our faces.