Breaking News is Broken

The News is our source for what is happening in the world around us. We rely on them to keep us informed in the most accurate & unbiased way possible. Unfortunately it’s becoming more and more apparent that not all News providers are holding themselves to that standard.

A few months back, during the whole Obamacare palooza, reporters scrambled to be the first with the courts ruling decision. It was a madhouse. Such a madhouse in fact that several News stations reported incorrectly what the outcome was. They were in such a rush to be the first to tell all of America that they half-ass skimmed the documents and belted out what they thought was the decision before knowing all the details. Below is a video of the clusterfuck in action:

Their behavior is very similar to trolls on various forums and blogs who comment ‘FIRST!’ in the hopes of popping the proverbial cherry of the post. Sorry kids, you’re still virgins, being the first to comment a post isn’t going to magically change that. Just like being the first to give breaking news to people isn’t worth jack shit if you can’t even give it to them accurately.

Why should it matter who says it first when they don’t get it right? Do any of us really care if one news source is able to tell us 10 seconds sooner than another one? Shouldn’t accuracy and fact be more important than being the first jackass to barrel through the finish line?

But wait, there’s more! There are even scarier things lurking behind the scenes! Rather than just reporting things inaccurately, some news organizations have taken it upon themselves to completely fabricate stories out of thin air. For example, while we all are searching for information on the mysterious James Holmes in an effort to understand the horror and find some explanation, some have decided to take advantage of our thirst for knowledge via made-up stories. From ABC News

Since being held in the Arapahoe County Jail, Holmes has been spitting at the officers so much, they are forced to use a spit guard on Holmes when they have to move him.

The next day, this happened:

The story claiming Holmes was in a protective headgear was reported Tuesday night, despite a report by Ferrugia on Monday that, “contrary to what some media organizations have reported, our sources say in the past 48-hours Holmes has been calm and docile in jail, just like he was in court. There have been no outbursts at all as he is in isolation.”

There is a difference between gossip sites and News organizations. On gossips sites you’re not really expecting that everything you read is going to be fact – hence the name “gossip”. So when you have a news station who decides to create gossip, what does that mean for the rest of their stories?

These are just two examples of how screwed our News providers have become. There are many more; from basic grammar errors on their websites to the Fox News fear mongering. I may be somewhat of a liberal, in my own way, but I’m not generally one to jump on conspiracy bandwagons. I’m not attributing all of this to some sinister plot to make us into sheep – far from it. The fact is that our society is becoming lazy and our standards are getting lower. If we can’t trust the News to uphold its own standards, what can we trust?

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12 thoughts on “Breaking News is Broken

  1. I don’t understand their rush to be first. It’s not like an MSNBC watcher is gonna convert to Fox News if they air something first, or vice versa. Fox and MSNBC are barely news anymore. They’re channels for opinion journalism, and they have their viewers in a tight grip. They could stand to wait a bit before reporting something. Who knows, it might even generate suspense and keep people hooked!

  2. On my own blog a while back, I posted a rant about how useless CNN, MSNBC and FoxNews have become to anyone wanting actual news. MSNBC basically became the anti-FoxNews, and CNN trivialized itself to death. I can’t watch any of them anymore. Thoughtful analysis in our society has been washed away by twits and twitter-speak: brief, shallow thoughts expressed with 140 chars and a link.

    If you have access to the new HBO show, The Newsroom, it might be worth a watch (I seem to recall you don’t watch the tv matchine, though?). Once again, Aaron Sorkin presents a reality intelligent people wish were true. It (literally, no foolin’) makes me weep to watch the show (or The West Wing before it); the disconnect between what is and what could be is so vast it breaks my heart. I WANT a president like Jed Bartlett. I WANT a cable news channel like ACN.

    • I actually do have HBO (my guilty pleasure; True Blood) and have seen bits and pieces of the News Room but hadn’t really invested myself into it yet. I’ll have to watch it over the next week. I don’t watch very much TV because generally I’m either at work, writing on here, or doing various cleaning around my apartment in the hopes that it might stay that way (it never does).

  3. Lex, et al

    I suggest a couple of books for your perusal. They are “Bias” and “Arrogance.” Both by Bernard Goldberg. Like you, Lex, he characterizes himself as a Liberal (or at least he did when he wrote the book). He is former CBS insider who became offended by a supposed news piece that was little more than an opinion piece regarding Steve Forbes’ presidential campaign in 2000. He thought it was so over the top, he wrote an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal, which apparently CBS considered it’s arch-enemy at the time. One of the point’s he makes is that he doesn’t believe news big-wigs sit around talking about how they are going to skew the news, but there is definite bias. I just started reading Arrogance. Can’t tell you much about that one. You may not agree with what Goldberg has to say but it’s an interesting read.

    • Bonita, thank you! I will check it out next time I go to half-priced books (which is often, I read books like I should drink water).

      I say somewhat liberal because on the one hand I have strong views on equal rights for Gays and separation of church and state (which is basically non-existent here in Kansas. Our governor just passed a law that allows pharmacies to deny you birth control or plan-B or anything else that they *feel* might terminate a pregnancy if it goes against their personal moral code, but that’s a rant for another day) But on the other hand I also feel strongly that abortion is wrong unless there is danger to the mother/baby or in cases of rape/incest. I have some conservative views, the thing that i think makes me ‘liberal’ (or just sane) is that I don’t want to force my views down other peoples throats. Just because I think something is right or wrong doesn’t mean someone else does. I’m kind of a mixed bag of crazy.

  4. You know, this post reminds me of those annoying AT&T commercials where they’re boasting about their users getting things done faster and saying “That was so 24 seconds ago.” You know what, if it makes you feel like a better person to know something twenty-fricken-four seconds before I do, then you have bigger issues than who your phone provider is.

    I wanna make a commercial where someone says “That was so 24 seconds ago” and the other guy just punches him in the mouth.

      • Haha I would have to agree. Matt is pretty witty.

        I would also love to see a commercial like that. Cause Matt is totally right. Who gives a shit if your phone got you some mundane sports/facebook/news update 24 seconds before someone elses? By the time I generally see even a text message it’s been 3 hours and the person has given up any hope of trying to reach me.

        I tend to not pay attention to my phone or have it on silent all day for work. People have a window between 7 and 10 to get a hold of me, but they have to maintain that conversation throughout the day. Otherwise I’ll reply, leave my phone somewhere (or lose it, which I do often) and never think to check it again.

  5. I think it’s best to watch the news from different countries, that way you have a better chance of getting a look at the bigger picture.
    The current conflict in Syria is a great example of this, western news outlets (FOX etc) are railing on China and Russia for not playing along with the UN but watching something like RT (Russia Today) you see their side of the story.

    24-hour news networks are a bit silly though…

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