Sprat Issue 50 – Constant Media Blitz Of News Minutia
By James Donahue
As a retired newspaper reporter I can personally relate to Mr. Sprat’s complaint
number 50. He worries that the constant media blitz filled with what he calls "news minutia" is designed to keep people occupied
and looking the other way and ignoring the things they should be hearing about.
Indeed, even the 2012 presidential campaign has been so overplayed that it has to be
included in the category of "news minutia" capturing the attention of millions. Notice how the television talking heads are
devoting their focus on one specific issue after another, from specific criminal acts to royal weddings, destructive storms
and public shootings. Whatever the issue, the media tends to "milk" every thread of these stories until something new comes
along to take their place.
We have been asking the same question for years: Where is the real news? What has happened
to the great investigative reporting that once made the American and European media so grand? Why doesn’t the Washington
Press Corps ask the hard questions like it did during the 1960s and 1970s when America was engrossed in an unpopular war in
Vietnam and Richard Nixon was involved in corrupt behavior that led to the Watergate scandal? It seems that UPS Reporter Helen
Thomas, who was forced into retirement because of true but controversial remarks she made about Israel, was the last one of
the old gang to go.
Another former press corps reporter, Martin Schram, in a recent column, wrote: "Sadly,
the decline and fall of the Washington press corps continues in ways we never imagined could happen. A new form of news deception
has gone viral. It has spread from the White House press corps to the campaign trail, Capitol Hill and your favorite news
Schram wrote that just about all of the news received from Washington these days are
"canned" releases, carefully orchestrated and edited by the politicians and their spokes persons. The reporters are simply
regurgitating the prepared statements fed to them via e-mail or on printed paper. President Obama reads carefully prepared
script from a teleprompter when he appears on television. Very little comes to us spontaneously from the mouths of anybody
in public office.
Consequently we are being told only what Washington and the corporate controlled media
wants us to know and little else.
Our television screens are choked with such minutia as hours of football, tennis, and
even gulf games, silly reality shows, how to fix things, and wild stunt events like "Ice Road Truckers" or the ever-popular
"Cops" that puts television cameras in real police cars and records their every move.
The so-called "news" channels are so clever at plugging their broadcast time with non-news
stories, overly-dramatized coverage of criminal trials made sensational by the fact that the news is focused on them, and
the social events surrounding England’s fictitious Royal family or the Academy Awards to Hollywood "stars" most of us
have never heard of.
As a former news reporter I know there are real news events occurring everywhere in
the world that demand public attention, but are not getting it. These include the pirating of ships on the high seas, the
increased number of sinkings of ferries filled with people among the island nations, the impact of dramatic weather events
around the world, and perhaps the real stories of events going on in China, Iran, South Africa, Australia and other corners
of the world.
Why the blitz of news minutia when some of us know the media could and should be doing
a much better job? Could it be that certain people in high places, the ones that control events in Washington and everything
the media publishes, have an agenda that they do not want us to find out about?
Failure on the part of the media makes us all vulnerable to disaster. Indeed, Mr. Sprat,
your concern number 50 is something we all need to worry about.