Monday, September 05, 2005

Freedom of the Press

Gib beat me to this one, but I’m adding my two cents (recently inflated to $6.98) anyway. I would have finished this first, but I was blogging from work and the people I work for expect me to produce some work when I’m being paid to work at work. The bloody fascists derailed my train of thought before I had a chance to commit things to word processor.

Proud side note – Atlanta leads the nation, as always, in price gouging.

As an American, I completely support our various freedoms – the freedom to peaceably assemble after filling out the proper forms and getting permission from the government, the freedom to arm yourself and preach hatred in the name of a popular god, the freedom to invade cyberspace and post rambling, psychotic and vaguely threatening diatribes while receiving no comeuppance whatsoever, etc. – but at the same time I believe freedom can still exist with a little accountability.

Take freedom of the press, for example. The press should be completely free to tell the truth, but what about when they pass along half-truths, panic inducing conjecture, or outright lies? We need a system wherein the press is free to say anything they desire, as long as the American public is free to respond accordingly.

Earlier this week they told a story of a woman in Louisiana who walked to a hospital with no shoes, and a person working for the hospital gave her the shoes of his or her feet. The reporter ended her report by saying “What a great medical personnel.” The camera then flicked to the anchorwoman who added “Yes, they are truly great medical personnel there.”

Punishment #1: Anytime they use convoluted language to overstate the importance of anything – e.g. “weather event” instead of “rain” – or stupidly use politically correct terms when it would be easier to just say what it is – e.g. “medical personnel” instead of “nurse” – we, the concerned public, should staple tadpoles to their ears, nail their toes to a stump, and push them over backwards. Bear in mind this is for first offenses; for repeat offenders we should get creatively nasty.

Lately they’ve hammered the government for failing to quickly rescue everyone from the path of Katrina, citing how slow they are to reach the area while the media has had people there all along and haven’t bothered to so much as toss a sandwich and bottle of water out of one of their helicopters. It seems that would make a great story – reporters could report on how they were personally making a difference in their community. But it seems they overlooked that side of the story, and quickly forgot about the phone interviews they held during the storm with people who could have been evacuating but instead decided to stay home and talk to the press.

Punishment #2: Every time they present only one side of the story, regardless of how popular that side is, the reporters will be circumcised with a hand grenade (preferably white phosphorus, but shrapnel is okay in a pinch). Don’t worry – women can be circumcised too.

And let’s not forget the gasoline shortage that was caused by the media speculating that there could be a gasoline shortage. After two days of reporting a possible shortage, Atlantans flocked to the gas stations, clogging the surface roads and bleeding most places dry of petrol. The next day everybody went back to work as normal, but the media wasn’t done yet. They began replaying stock footage of the previous day, showing long lines to get fuel while loudly wondering how much longer the gas crisis would last. If the panic and price gouging weren’t bad enough, every day since the reporters concluded their latest report with “And just who knows how high the price of gasoline will go?”

Punishment #3: Whenever they promote panic to raise the ratings, the reporters will be raped by a herd of water buffalo that have been set on fire. Don’t worry – men can be raped too. People will stand around chanting things like “How much longer can it last?” and “Gee, I hope they don’t get attacked by rabid porcupines with AIDS.” (cue the rabid porcupines with AIDS)

Once, when I lived in Birmingham, I sick bear wandered into town, made a few Elvis-like appearances, and was finally cornered near a pipe-making plant. Note – the bear was tranquilized, treated, and released back into the wild. One of the people who cornered it was a friend of mine, a security guard working for the pipe company. When the reporter from NBC interviewed him, she asked “Ooh, can we say you’re a security guard from the university? It would sound so much better.” My friend said he didn’t care, while the CBS reporter snorted and mumbled “So much for realism.” That night my friend tuned into CBS news who proudly reported the bear had been cornered by law enforcement officials and a security guard from the university.

Punishment #4: nothing short of being publicly executed will do here, twice if the lie is particularly heinous or pointless. I recommend putting the reporters through punishments one through three, then firing them out of a cannon into the sun just to be safe.

Remember me when the next elections roll around.
“Grant. Unorthodox. Bloodthirsty. Dedicated. Caring.” Or,
“Grant. Better living through insanity, violence, and weird chemicals.”

Death, out


PBS said...

You've mentioned something that I've wondered about from the very beginning of the hurricane coverage by the media. If they could shoot endless footage of the disaster, why couldn't they also pitch in and help?

Weary Hag said...

Excellent post Mr. Grant. We sat and discussed these topics all week anytime we had the stomach to flip on the news. Lies, exaggerations, pull-ins - God, the pull-ins (i.e. "stay tuned while Mike Microphone interviews the 80 year old double amputee woman who single handed rescued her neighbor's friend's uncle's cousin from the house next door as it was being looted by men at sword-point.")

Meantime, in the time it took for them to announce all that ... they could have dropped six more cases of water from the helicopter.

Sensationalize THIS you media peckerheads.

sands of time said...

Yes i agree with lots you said there.I couldnt believe one interviewer who asked a family with a disabled granny,2 small children and a pregnant wife why they didnt evacuate.Well with no car or money and being on foot how far did she think they would get walking.They would probably all of drowned.

sands of time said...

Thanks as well for that info on the google toolbar

Malia said...

I like your ideas. Well said as always.

lkutso--last knight under the sword oogles.

annush said...

Wonderful...i really liked the part about being castrated with a hand granade. That was inspired!