Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Come one, come all! (Sheesh.)

Want to know why the news media are having to beg for audiences? Why newspapers are going under?

Markets are different, sure, but the main thing is: They don't even respect themselves, anymore.

They invite user participation. "What Do YOU Think?" "Sound Off!" "Log On To WWW.NewzKrap.Com, And Give Your Opinion!."

Remember when you had to be a trained journalist to end up in the newspaper? Or at least have your letter vetted by an editor, to appear on the editorial page?

Nowadays, they put up Comments sections of their news sites. Worse, the comments are allowed to be submitted anonymously. Still worse, there's no review of them before they are posted.

Case in point: Yesterday, the story came out that a mentally ill young man was shot with a taser by Fort Worth Police officers, and the man died. They precise mechanism of death is unknown. The precise actions by the officers before the tasing are unknown. The exact actions of the deceased and the description of the setting are unknown.

But there's a comment section following the sparse NBC story. 1/2 of the comments say the cops are thugs who should be put in jail for killing that poor little black boy (Oh, did I mention that there was a racial component to this?), and 1/2 the comments declare that any cop who kills "one of them" is a hero, regardless of the circumstance. The comments run into the hundreds, and eventually turn into a back-and-forth, which becomes less about the story than jibes at each other.

And why?

While I know that this is the Age Of The Common Man, let me just point out that when the journalists seek amateur input and it seems common and natural enough, we'd either be horrified or laugh our collective butts off if an amateur tried his hand at impromptu attempts at other professions, like surgery, or aircraft piloting, or electrical engineering.

Everyone is NOT special. Everyone, including me, is NOT a writer.

Your opinion? Just might not matter enough that I need to read it.

Hey? News venues? Turn off the comments to your stories. The irritainment just isn't worth it.

"Everyone is special, Dash."
"Which is another way of saying no one is." (At 6:10)

"You won't even go to your own son's graduation."
"It's not a graduation. He is moving from the fourth grade to the fifth grade."
"It's a ceremony!"
"It's psychotic! They keep creating new ways to celebrate mediocrity!"
(At 6:12)

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At Thursday, April 23, 2009 11:55:00 AM, Blogger JY said...

I forget where I read it, but that doesn't make it less true: “The Supreme Irony of the Information Age is that it gives new respectability to uninformed opinion.”

At Thursday, April 23, 2009 1:30:00 PM, Blogger none said...

I often comment on leftist op-ed columns that contain terribly slanted and inaccurate reporting.

Have you seen the ones in the local online newpapers? Some ghetto rat gets killed in police shootout and the mama and all the cousins leave their comments on the story..Tyrone wuz a good boy, an aspiring rapper, he was gettin his life together, he woodint hurt nobody..they shot him cuz he was black etc..

It's like an episode of Springer.

At Friday, April 24, 2009 12:00:00 AM, Anonymous Bob@thenest said...

Many of the intellectual capacities and uninformed opinions found in the newspaper comments sections are downright scary. Those people vote! They elect local school board members, commissioners, sheriffs, and other local officials, not to mention state and federal offices. And they serve on juries...

At Friday, April 24, 2009 9:20:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should read the comments left at Downright pathetic.

At Friday, April 24, 2009 12:33:00 PM, Blogger Ted said...

Several good friends of mine are lawyers* who point out that juries consist almost entirely of "people too stupid to get out of jury duty". This is by design.

*they all have the good grace to be embarrassed about it

At Friday, April 24, 2009 12:42:00 PM, Blogger charlotte g said...

It's kinda nice when a mother and son have a moment of complete accord. This is one of them :-)

At Saturday, April 25, 2009 12:59:00 AM, Blogger TOTWTYTR said...

Perhaps the scariest thing is that sometimes the comments are better than the original article in both style and content.

At Saturday, April 25, 2009 6:57:00 PM, Blogger Old NFO said...

For better or worse, and most of the times it's worse... But as TOTWTYTR said, every once in a while there is a pearl amongst the swine! I used to work with a "retired" intelligence type who would regularly comment on articles in the Washington Fishrap (Post) and get published. He told me for every 100 letters, ONE might actually get in, which meant he wrote a LOT of letters!


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