Confessions of a media whore

I have a confession to make. Actually, it’s not much of a secret, so I don’t know if the term “confession” applies. Anyway.

I am a media creature – 18-plus years as a newspaper editor and writer, and five-plus years as a web media critter, with some overlap of both. I write, I edit, I shoot photos, I shoot a little video. I am of the media. I am “the media” as pundits who are about to criticize “the media” (and too often use the term incorrectly in singular form — media is [are] plural for “medium.”) – where was I? Oh, yes – like to refer to the media as if they are some sort of monolithic being that never behaves independently of other “media.”

Except that sometimes they’re right.

I saw tweet today from Tony Hawk (yeah, the skater dude):

tonyhawk Tony Hawk
“According to news outlets, our priorities are a wedding in England & a birth in Hawaii. Glad there are no other major issues.”

Bam! In 140 characters or less, he summed up exactly what is wrong with the modern  24/7 in-your-face infotainment news cycle.

I’m guilty of sometimes feeding the media monster, but most of the time I try to stick to real news and things that matter. But I do get sucked in and feel compelled to comment on some of the stupidity that passes for “news.”

Every bozo with a contrarian point of view (even if it’s utter bullshit) gets his or her day in the spotlight, which annoys me to no end. Trotting out these news “sources” gives them more credibility than they deserve. It’s mystifying, in a way, that all you have to say is “As Seen on TV” and a sack of sludge has instant credibility. Which explains a lot.

I wonder why news outlets keep sticking cameras and microphones in front of Donald Trump to give him a platform to spew his blowhard garbage as if it’s actually newsworthy. He’s been caught repeatedly in lies on the air, and was even called on it by CNN (who earns half-credit for that). Yet they keep sticking a camera and microphone in front of him. Enough! He’s been discredited, the whole “birther” inanity has been resoundingly discredited. The blowhards and wingnuts have had their say.  MOVE ON! There’s a royal wedding to cover.

Speaking of which, be sure to participate in my Royal Wedding Survey. I shall say no more about that. (Far bigger media monkeys than I have that one covered in excess already.)

In other news

A large pine tree fell into some power lines on Revere Road in Fairlawn, Ohio, in a windstorm Thursday morning. The road was reopened Thursday afternoon. Yes, I shot this photo. Alert the Pulitzer committee!

There was a rather blustery storm blowing through NE Ohio today. Being the editor on duty at Patch.com, I did the dutiful thing and reported on the event. I called the local police and the power company, FirstEnergy. Spokesman Mark Durbin has done this a thousand times (at least), so he’s got the drill down pat. Got some info, hacked out a simple, straightforward report on the known facts: Trees down, power out in places, some roads blocked.

I went out and shot some photos. There wasn’t much activity at the time I was there, or I’d have shot some video. I posted the photos and posted some social media stuff to promote the story and the Patch site. I followed up a few hours later to see what progress had been made in cleanup. All in a day’s work. I was among several Patch editors thanked for responding to the storm in each of our particular Patch locales. Even editors need a little love now and then.

But that story is really a sidebar to the bigger story in the South, where at least  248 people perished in storms and huge tornadoes. Alabama really got hammered. Our power outages and uprooted trees pale in comparison. The reporting of that news is serious and real. And it’s heartbreaking, especially for the friends and family of those victims and the hundreds more whose lives have been devastated.

Then I ran across this piece that makes me   1) laugh out loud and 2) shake my head in shame.

The anchors were laughing at him. One even said (on air), “I don’t mean to laugh at him.”  Yeah, you do. I laughed. Several of my media brethren giddily passed the video link along like a naughty note at school. Tee-hee!

And so I mock the media clowns and buffoons, knowing that I am not that far removed from them. Which gives me pause. It’s funny and sad at the same time.

I am a crying clown.

I am a media whore.

But at least I have my integrity. Right?

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