Errors in Fact, Part III

Last week, my friend “Rufus” announced that he wants to create a new media source dedicated to “balanced” reporting. He believes that the principal reason the Democrats won in 2008 is not that the Democrats had a better story to tell. He believes the Democrats had a better media to tell their story.

I have observed that few Main Stream Media outlets misreport the news; they simply under report the news. The less we know, the more mistakes we make.

  • Did you know that the taxpayer-funded subsidy for ethanol amounted to $1.45 per gallon of ethanol sold in 2006? That’s front page news that never appeared on any front page. We paid that out of our already taxed paychecks in addition to the price at the pump. Mistake #1.
  • Did you know that the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac bailout now amounts to $400 billion? That’s front page news that never appeared on any front page. We will pay that out of our already taxed paychecks in addition to the price “at the pump.” Mistake #2.
  • Did you know that the United States cancer survival rates are significantly better than those in countries with national health care? That’s front page news that never appeared on any front page. About 62.9% of U.S. men and 66.3% of U.S. women survive for at least five years. In Great Britain, on National Health Care, just 44.8% of men and only 52.7% of women live for five years after diagnosis. Other deadly diseases have similar numbers. Mistake #3.

Does the Main Stream Media really twist the news by not publishing it? Do they do it on purpose?

I had hoped someone could tell me who decides what stories to report.

That decision is more than half the battle.

There are eight million stories in the naked city and at least 100 of them happen before deadline, day in and day out. You have 24 total pages for editorial, in between the ads and the funnies and no more because you can’t afford to buy any more pulped trees. You have 21 minutes of total air time less the 2-1/2 or 3 minutes of promos for the upcoming stories, the 4 minutes of weather, and the 3 minutes of sports because God ain’t making any extra minutes in your half hour. You can do up to 12 40-second shorts and one “in depth” 3 minute piece.

Tell me again what 87 stories NOT TO report?

The reason most of the Main Stream Media appears unbalanced has less to do with what they report and more to do with what they don’t.

Many of today’s 87 stories start with the dog biting the postal carrier. That’s news to the Post Office but the two cent stamp hike has far more effect on us. Of the rest, the reason no main stream journal reports that GM sold more cars last month than Toyota is that that fact does not fit the news myth that “no one buys General Motors cars.”

For the record, I have two GM vehicles. I like them.

Also for the record, ethanol in gasoline, bank bailouts, and healthcare are the biggest stories of the last couple of years. I do not like how hard it was to find real information about them.

The news does get managed.

I was asked to take down photos of the construction work in progress on the former Switlik estate. I did. The request was made “to protect the new owner’s privacy.”

  • Privacy? Other sites have similar images (for other examples, check the Realtor’s “we sold this” site or Google maps). No worries there.
  • Space? I have, essentially, unlimited space to publish. No worries there.
  • Copyright? I shot a roll of film legitimately and without challenge. No worries there.

In the end those nice images did little to advance the story and, worse, brought a “paparazzi” feel to the reporting. I really had no need for them and no reason not to say yes to the request.

The news got managed.

I made an editorial decision for the best of reasons but even in this case, there is a little bit less news in the world.

Bottom line: Fewer stories of substance. Less information in the stories. Less news. The less we know, the more mistakes our “free press” assures that we make.

Dear Mr. President:

This is my application for the White House Fiction Corps, um, er … Press Corps. If you have any influence with the Main Stream Media, I would appreciate a little boost.

I’m really good at this stuff, you know.

2 thoughts on “Errors in Fact, Part III

  1. I can only speak for American news media, but I perceive that they have a political agenda that dwells considerably left of center. And I share Rufus’s observation that the dems own(ed) the news during last year’s presidential race.

    During the primaries, Media rooted for McCain on the GOP side and Obama on the Left; and they seemed to give equally floral compliments to both. However, when it got to the big one, McCain was as out-of-favor as a McCoy at a Hatfield wedding.

    We seasoned observers were not shocked by this, as it was the agenda of media to assure that the most unelectable GOP candidate be nominated…and that, of course, was the old rino. His age, his record of fence straddling and his naivete helped to grease the skids for their (media’s) successful endeavors.

    In short, media gave us both Obama and McCain.

    So, yes, the news does get managed; and I AM® surprised that Rufus is just now figuring this out. Where the devil was he during the Linburgh baby Kidnap trial?

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