Newspapers do not reflect reality


bluegray (April 16, 2008, 22:18:31 PM):
How broadcast journalism is flawed in such a fundamental way that its utility as a tool for informing viewers is almost nil.

We watch the news to “see what’s going on in the world.” But there’s a hitch right off the bat. In its classic conception, newsworthiness is built on a foundation of anomaly: man-bites-dog, to use the hackneyed j school example. The significance of this cannot be overstated. It means that, by definition, journalism in its most basic form deals with what life is not.

Although this article focuses on American media, I think it's arguments are valid for our media as well. I read it a while back and wanted to post about it, but never got to it.

A lot of mention was made in the forum recently to 'just watch the newspapers'. While it is true that not watching any news will make you less informed about what is going on in the world, it does not mean that if you do watch the news and read the paper that you are informed of the reality going on around you.

to be continued...
bluegray (April 17, 2008, 09:57:01 AM):
Just take this article for example:
AFTER bathing in the warm, fuzzy glow of the Mandela years, South Africans today are deeply demoralised people. The lights are going out in homes, mines, factories and shopping malls as the national power authority, Eskom - suffering from mismanagement, lack of foresight, a failure to maintain power stations and a flight of skilled engineers to other countries - implements rolling power cuts that plunge towns and cities into daily chaos.

Major industrial projects are on hold. The only healthy enterprise now worth being involved in is the sale of small diesel generators to powerless households but even this business has run out of supplies and spare parts from China.

The currency, the rand, has entered freefall. Crime, much of it gratuitously violent, is rampant, and the national police chief faces trial for corruption and defeating the ends of justice as a result of his alleged deals with a local mafia kingpin and dealer in hard drugs.
There is some truth to all these statements, but does it reflect the reality? How many people around you are "deeply demoralised"? How many towns and cities are "plunged into daily chaos"? I must be very lucky indeed, because it does not seem as bad where I live...

It's no wonder people are paranoid and afraid - the papers paint a gruesome picture. But to really know what goes on around you, you will have to go outside, talk to people, and see for yourself. You can't rely on newspapers to do that for you. They have no interest or obligation to do that.
Wandapec (April 20, 2008, 20:00:19 PM):
I totally agree. I guess it is what sells?


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