Friday, April 30, 2010

GUEST BLOG! Media: When is Enough, Enough?

The following is a Guest Blog by Jason, a "regular" at the BOTG bar.

Lady Gaga--"Paparazzi (Mathias Mental Remix)" (mp3)
Green Day--"American Idiot" (mp3)

As I was brainstorming through various topics to write about for BOTG blog, I came to two conclusions. I have a lot of topics which I would love to write about passionately, but the one topic that I kept on coming back to was my general dismay with today’s media.

As a person who is on the cusp of being labeled a Generation Y child, depending on what year you believe the beginning of Generation Y starts, I am sometimes disturbed by my personal views on media. I think of myself as being a pretty positive person. Yet, I look at all of the examples around me, and I see a general tabloidization and double standards of our media which sickens me.

I know that as a member of Generation Y, I am supposed to be hip with today’s gadgets, instant news, IM, video cameras, and ‘smartphones’. I think I am, but only to an extent. Maybe it is the fringe Generation X in me that prevents me from being fully integrated.

All facets of our society are touched by this media imprudence. The shift in what is really a story in today’s society has deteriorated. Do you really think that President Kennedy’s security advisers were thinking to themselves when America was going through the Cuban Missile Crisis that they couldn’t trust President Kennedy to make the right decisions to steward the country through one of the scariest events of the 20th century because he wasn’t a moral person? Did sleeping with a blond bombshell the night before have a detrimental effect on his judgment in what to do with Khrushchev?

What would have happened if Cheney or Rumsfeld had been president in ’62 instead of Kennedy? In 1988, a sex scandal brought down Gary Hart’s nomination bid for the presidency. 14 years ago, the Congressional process against a former president almost led to his impeachment because he lied about getting oral sex from the wrong woman. I am petrified to think what would happen nowadays. 20 days of Tiger Woods on the cover of the New York Post will do that to you.

Today we are inundated with stories about single and married athlete’s romps in Las Vegas, which has been going on for years. TMZ drops scoops on these kind of events like the US destroyed Iraqi tanks in the first Gulf War. Brittany Spears not wearing panties is unimportant, no matter how attractive she might have once been.

We see video clips on ESPN of NFL sports owners who are drunk and loose with their tongues having a discussion which they clearly don’t know is being videotaped. This is the same ESPN that dedicated almost 24 hours straight to the Terrell Owens suicide watch for a guy that, trust me, loves himself way too much to want to kill himself. On the other hand, this is the same ESPN that dropped a highly successful series, Playmakers, because the NFL wanted it killed as it was too realistic in its interpretation of professional football player’s lives. This is the ESPN who sat on the first allegations sexual assault against Ben Roethlisberger for over two days, an eternity in today’s instant media world, yet had a legal analyst discussing OJ’s cases in his burglary/armed robbery case in Nevada. OJ is extremely insignificant in today’s world, he is so 1994. Why cover the case at all?

Discussing Eastern Hemisphere media groups is even more irritating. Apple recently introduced their iPhone to many Asian countries, including South Korea, where the ‘chaebol’ companies (easiest translation for chaebol is ‘old money’) have a complete stranglehold on most of the consumer products in Korea. It is not good enough that these companies are allowed to go to North America, Europe and most of Asia and compete on fair grounds for their products, but they refuse to allow the government to bring in competition.

When the iPhone was finally allowed into Korea, there were many stories with quotes from anonymous sources in various media outlets who said that it would not succeed there. When the iPhone became a huge success, quickly outselling all other national brands these old money companies ostracized the company that brought in the iPhone, and have not allowed any other new products to go to that company. Do the media in Korea investigate this? Do they apologize for the irresponsible reporting in the first place?

No, the bias in stories continually sides with the person or company who is willing to put the most money into an envelope. They fail to report that the business plans of companies here failed in that they focused on hardware instead of software which is why Apple is so successful and Samsung and LG haven’t been. Now they report that the Android operating system will crush Apple’s iPhones. Maybe they will, I am not a consumer products analyst for Goldman Sachs, but you can bet that if the media in South Korea are wrong again, Samsung, LG and SKT won’t let the truth come out.

I realize that there is a double edged sword in a lot that I am talking about. Today’s instant media society with street and handheld camera’s everywhere probably would allow us to know definitively what really happened on November 22nd, 1963. Maybe a cheating husband is not what the conservative Accenture signed up with Tiger Woods and therefore they are better off today. Maybe I am just becoming a little bit old fashioned before my time in thinking that the journalistic techniques of Woodward and Bernstein are used too infrequently; reporting on real human tragedies like war torn Africa, genocide in Darfur, human rights violations in various places around the world seem to be easily put on the backburner. I will even settle for more feel good humanitarian stories if that would mean less time hearing about ‘making it rain’ at a strip club.

Jason lives, works, and now blogs in Seoul, Korea.

7 comments:

Bob said...

Agreed, Jason. They are distracting us from real news pretty successfully. I have to think that is intentional, don't you?

Anonymous said...

Nice beav!

Jason said...

Bob,

It is not as if I think they are doing it unintentionally:)

I do believe that it is certainly not an intentional mechanism IMO as much as a money mechanism. Certainly there has to be an interest for this type of journalism, otherwise it wouldn't appear on the media airways because ad rates rule in all media business.

Jason said...

Anonymous,

Canadians and half Canadians alike see a lot of beav like that.

jed said...

the reporting (photographing) of things like britney requires no thought - aim for the lowest common denominator.

as for the cell phone bit, that's just the politics of envy....

Jason said...

Jed,

I guess the question then becomes are we allowing the lowest common denominator to become too low as viewers. When do we say enough is enough?

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