Boston: There is no shortage of information at this point of world history. Through many sources, writers and citizen journalists it is also true that there has never been so much misinformation and relativistic truth in print; on air, online and digitally and it will get much worse before it gets better. Like a disease or virus what was called news a decade ago is now dismissed as evergreen, or non-news. Take examiner.com, gossip and who has the “best bods” makes the news cycles, but original reporting on human trafficking in a New York neighborhood is deemed “not newsworthy.” “Toothless stars” and “Starter Wives” get the nod for top videos. But what is trending right now? The Boston Marathon attack- is top news and should be at the top of the list. The abortion debate and North Korea threats are also hard news. Yet a teen suing a chef; and an article on a cartoon is hardly what could be called “news or original reporting.”
- Boston Marathon attack
- Teen suing Rachael Ray
- ‘Family Guy’ controversy
- The abortion debate
- North Korea threats
#Gossip and escapism
Like many diseases and viruses gossip and escapism have replaced news stories. With diseases and sicknesses there are too many untrained sources and even news organizations have fallen into the trap. “We report what is trending.” That is a sign that media is out of control and redefining news to mere opinion pieces and worse news with an agenda. This Monday’s coverage of the terror attack at the Boston Marathon is such a case.
#New York Post
The New York Post reported that 12 people were killed and a suspect was being guarded at a hospital room. In the next days online version, NYP claimed it was sticking to their story, on the suspect, but made no mention of the inflated number of how many were killed. No retraction, no apology and of course no responsibility. A veteran New York reporter recalled that from the late 1970’s the paper wars between the morning edition of NY Daily News and the Late Afternoon NY Post competed for the “most graphic blood and gut stories.” Screaming headlines sell papers and in a day when papers can’t be given away, the reckless reporting style is a sad reminder that relative truth makes bad news worse but sells a few papers.
Twits on Facebook
Media is responsible for feeding a hungry culture in the areas of press, internet, music, video-television, audio-radio, books and cinema and now in the digital realm. Social media has been both a welcome addition and an unchecked speed trap for accuracy and bad journalism. True it is bad driving that forces cameras in cars that have benefited law enforcement and great footage in Russia. Yet the rush to judgement from every side is a side effect that could be hazardous to our psychological well being.
Reading hash tags on Twitter could be hazardous to your psychological health. In some cases, but not in all, those who have tweeted have experienced needless anxiety, anger and depression and have come to faulty conclusions. If you’ve read a tweet for more than four hours please consult your doctor.
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