Media Madness

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Good Morning this is CFRM in Edmonton.

The time is 6:00am, Wednesday the 11th of August

This is Bob S. Slayer bringing you the latest breaking news from around the world.

The leading international stories this morning...  Salt Lake City tries to collect itself in the aftermath of the freak tornado that touched down in that city yesterday. The F2 tornado caused numerous injuries and at least one death. The Mayor is quoted as saying, "the downtown area looks like someone stirred it with a stick, but the Mormon Tabernacle was untouched".  

The Center for Integration of Natural Disaster Information advises that they predict hurricanes far more severe than that of last year's, Hurricane Mitch.   The U.S. Geological survey conducted, reports an increase in earthquakes, floods, landslides, wildlife disease, volcanoes, geomagnetism, wildfire, coastal storms and tsunamis, and other natural hazards.

Los Angeles shooting suspect Buford O'Neal Furrow Jr. was charged with first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder, as hate crimes based on race, nationality or religion.  Four years have passed since the most devastating act of terrorism ever committed on American soil: the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, in which 168 people died and another 400 were injured.  In that time, home-grown acts of terror, particularly those committed by factions of the radical right similar to those for Oklahoma City, have not gone away - and have, if anything grown dramatically in frequency. 

As schools begin reopening and the nation debates what can be done about children, violence, guns and culture.  Parents, children, educators and concerned citizens review resources available to  them.

At first, the Enquirer, Star, and Globe behaved themselves in covering JFK Jr.'s death. Then they came to their senses.

The Star's anointing of Caroline Schlossberg's 6-year-old son as the heir apparent to the Kennedy mantle, noting the boy's "charming personality and ease with strangers" as well as his "uncanny resemblance" to his uncle. 

The Globe's insistence that Kennedy could have "averted tragedy" had he heeded his July 16 horoscope, which warned Sagittarians to "remain close to home." "His headstrong Sagittarian nature refused to bow to the laws of the universe," laments astrologer Lynne Palmer.

Closer to home a man out on bail for second degree murder for killing his roommate over the possession of a television remote control, will be in court today for the first day of jury selection.

Edmonton has been rated the nation's number one city in highway fatalities.  It is also rated second only to Toronto for air pollution.

Investigations continue into the drive by shootings on the south side yesterday.  Police report that it is most likely gang related.


This is what this news coverage translated to me.

Good Morning this is KRAP in Edmonton.

The time is 6:00am, Wednesday the 11th of August

This is B. S. Slinger bringing you the latest breaking news from around the world.

The sun is attempting to break through the polluted skies this morning and there is every possibility that oxygen will be safe for inhalation today, at least in moderate quantities.

Our latest Act of God is losing it's edge as there was not enough death and destruction achieved by this F2 tornado.  We had to stretch it anyway as this is pretty small potatoes compared to the tornadoes the central states can have, where 40 tornadoes can touch down in a day during the tornado season.   However we have gone out of our way to check with the Natural Disaster Center to find out to what extent we can expect even more death and destruction over the next few weeks and months to satisfy even the most ghoulish interests.

Another shooting, these should be rated by the number of deaths, age, sex and religion like earthquakes and tornadoes.  Every death can hardly make the top news stories so these shooters are out there being as creative as possible in their act of cruelty to mankind.  Since Furrow has attacked children, race and religion, reenacting some of the hatred seen some fifty years ago by Hitler this crime will be covered much as the O.J. Simpson trial.  In case the public is not angered sufficiently let us remind them of the Oklahoma City bombing, setting the majority of the public mindset in to a rage.

Schools will be reopening soon and our sponsors are advertising their back to school specials on our station.  In regards to schools let us start the new season by implanting fear, terror and the image into children, parents and teachers that each day a child walks through a school door it could be their last.   Then we would never admit this but we will reinforce in the minds of any student that should they ever attempt such horrific crimes they are assured at least several hours of  accumulated media coverage in several countries.

To conclude the morning news coverage let us once more revive interest in the death of John F. Kennedy Jr. and shall we be honest about this, the focus is on John Jr., not his wife or his sister-in-law. Had only these two women been in the accident, it would have been old news several weeks ago.  The manner in which we can introduce the topic again is by putting down competitive news sources demeaning their coverage of the facts, inferring that they are the whore masters of the media and how ridiculous their coverage is of any event.

My morning started out pretty much with this information, and I suspect yours did as well if you listened to the radio, read the paper or watched the news on television.  These stories actually occurred and let me state now I am not belittling the deaths or the injuries that were involved in the news coverage but the manner in which stories such as these are continually presented to the public by the media.

When did news, locating the most bizarre, horrendous stories, repeating them over and over until certain criminals become more familiar than your neighbors or in essence become television personalities become the norm and acceptable.  Media does not only report the news as they would have you believe.   If you doubt me watch the faces of the reporters when they can sink their teeth into a story like John F. Kennedy Jr.'s plane crash.  For days it was the high light of the news, on every station, over and over again it was repeated.   Presented as if this information were essential to the well being of mankind... likened only to that of a disaster warning.  Reporters take a story like the shootings in a Colorado school, or the Simpson trial and repeat it so many times there is no way of avoiding it unless one refuses to listen to the radio, television or buy a paper.  I have often found this the only way to maintain any sanity in my life.  Depressed beyond belief by the stories that keep appearing in the news I have said NO to media for days and weeks at a time. 

Who is responsible?  The news stations seeking ratings, the reporters seeking job security through popularity, or the public that seems to absorb all this horrific news and come running back for more day in and out.

Our justification for our fascination of news is that we are acquiring information.  It is a good thing to be informed about what is going on in the world around you but when does over saturation become involved? When do you become immune to what you hear? Or does it become like a drug addiction where the accident or crime is not presented with enough horror that a search is made for programs devoted to emergency situations, crimes and people in distress.

My concern is the ratings of the media, be it news, talk shows, programming, all reaching out to present "information" in such a manner that they will maintain a solid audience of viewers.  Looking at the other side of the coin, when does news become this highly popular form of entertainment?   Let us call a spade a spade, this is what the news coverage has become "Entertainment".  When does media and their presentation of "information" take responsibility in some respects for the continuation of these horrific crimes?  Children are constantly exposed to death and crimes so evil through out their day in games and television and reinforced by the media. Why as adults do we not understand why some want to act out what they have seen in order to obtain attention.   Likewise the sick and warped minds of people who see a crime, hear about it in detail and then know so much about how it was achieved they can mimic and replicate it.

Media is madness and it is feeding a sick and perverted desire of some people to hear how badly life is for others.  This giving confirmation in some way that their own lives are not as bad as other's around them.   To some it is a justification of their behavior and acts of violence both at home and in the public.  If media were told to reduce their coverage of violence and horrific crimes by 50% they would not know where to begin to look for news or stories that are interesting yet not filled with hate and sorrow.

Occasionally a story is revealed and since in all honesty I was looking for a positive story in the news I will share with you one that I found that I thought was cute but indicative of our society.  The camera pans down a residential street and there is a lemonade drink stand, just like out of a Charlie Brown cartoon.   In front of the stand is a chair, behind the stand sits a little girl.  The camera pans to the sign over head which reads "Psychiatrist /Drinks .5"  The reporter takes a seat and pays his nickel to the little girl and she asks how she can help him.  The reporter replies he is having trouble sleeping at night and asks what she suggests.  The little girl replies with no hesitation, "Did you have a teddy bear when you were little?" The reporter replies in the affirmative. "Did you take it to bed with you at night?" Again an affirmative response from the reporter. "Did you have problems sleeping when you had your teddy bear?" This time a negative response from the reporter.  The little girl quickly sums up this information and tells the reporter that he is showing signs of fear of abandonment and should locate his old teddy bear and resume sleeping at night with it.  The girl I might add looked to be the age of 7 or perhaps 8 years.

Perhaps media is really digging to find something uplifting to report and that being the case does it not say something about our society? Media has the right to select what stories they wish to promote. Reporters need not circle a crime scene like sharks in a eating frenzy.  A story can be reported and the public allowed to draw their own conclusions about the incident without being led and fed by media to want to know more intimate details, see more blood, be told more about the pain and grief.  The facade of reporters presenting themselves as compassionate in front of the cameras while showing no regard in fact for the agony of the victims.   People in shock from an event that has rocked their lives, being video taped or written about when they can barely recall their own names.  Others eager to be captured on tape or in print seeing this opportunity as their big moment of public recognition. 

Do not think for one moment that covering news is not a revenue generating business.   The unfortunate situations of others is bread and butter for many in the media.   Television ratings is a key factor as to which stations are viewed and sponsored, and who puts them and I and everyone else that accepts this as normal.  Most of you will sit back and say so what can I do about it?  I am one voice in millions. Media is like an elected body, show your disapproval, indicate where the media has crossed the boundaries of information and decency and are out of control in their eagerness to gain a reputation.  Contact management and editors and make them aware of your disapproval.  We all have a voice and there is a way to reach media. They are responding to what they believe the public wants to see.  Is death, destruction, horror and pain on your daily menu?  Is this your perception of being informed?


                                       Cheryl C. Helynck 



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