They Screwed It Up Again

You may remember an earlier entry in which I commented about the media screwing up a story about a charity effort by the guys over at Penny Arcade. They got most of the story right, but completely left out the name of one of the two main guys running the whole operation, and essentially replaced his name with a guy who amounts to a minor henchman. Tycho, whose name was left out, had already forgiven the media for that boo-boo when they went and made it worse. Allow me to quote him (with a little censoring for our more sensitive viewers):

The first time the news dumb****s came out to talk about Child’s Play, though they were clearly told who was responsible for it they excised one of the people behind it. I consider this a fairly minor issue, but they’re still retarded. When they came to the Children’s Hospital itself for the toy delivery, there was no reporter even down there with us. A cameraman got some footage and then (I believe) ran away. I thought I heard him say “Ghosts!”, but that’s neither here nor there. When this footage was aired, I learned something new: that the toys had been donated by a local catholic school, and were valued at nearly a thousand dollars. Understand this. A single bin of GBA SPs was worth four thousand dollars, and we had four such bins. That’s above and beyond the seventy GameCubes the other twenty carts of toys, which at our best estimates come to around $175,000. Then there was a check for twenty-seven thousand.

The media loves to tell us Americans (and us Christians, which is a separate issue) that we’re bad people and that we should feel horrible for the way we live and the things we believe. They’re constantly trying to make us feel like we need to pull our heads out, if you get my meaning. When I hear things like this, I have to ask myself exactly whose head is up what. Did they get word that some toys had been donated, and simply guess that they were given by a Catholic school? Did anyone actually interview or ask questions to find out the truth? I can only imagine a conversation between one of the reporters and the senior editor back at HQ:

Editor: So, what did you find out when you went down to the hospital?
Reporter: Well, there were some video games and toys. We got that much. They came from… somewhere.
Editor: Well, only kids would donate stuff like that, so it has to be a school. I think I heard that a local Catholic school was donating something. We’ll just say it was them. How much were the toys worth?
Reporter: I saw a box or two of them. Maybe a grand?
Editor: Great work! Get me that copy and we’ll put it over the footage and air it on the six-o-clock show.
Reporter: But we don’t know for certain if any of our facts are correct.
Editor: I know! Isn’t that funny? Ha ha!
Reporter: Ha ha ha!

I’m about to write some very angry things. Please pardon me.

I wasn’t going to make a New Year’s resolution because, in general, I think anyone that needs an arbitrary calendar date to solidify their resolve is a wimp (no offense meant). This little ditty has helped me to change my mind. For quite some time I have believed the media to be incapable of actually conveying true and useful information to me, and this string of events has finally proved it. These numbskulls can’t get the simplest of facts straight. Why in the world would I listen to anything they have to say when I want to know what’s going on in my community or the world at large? So I’ve decided to make a few generalizations in order to protect myself. My resolution: when I want news from now on, I’m not going to get it from the major media outlets. I’m not going to turn to the big newspapers and I’m not going to turn to ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, or anyone else like that. If it’s important enough for me to know about, I’ll get the information from smaller news outlets and lesser-known websites that have built up a better accuracy record. I think the time has come for us to hold our news sources under a more critical light, and not simply consume as much as they’ll try to jam down our throats.

For those of you who take in a lot of their product on a regular basis, I’d like to encourage you to consider getting your information elsewhere for a week or two, just to see how it’s different. If anyone out there has any non-mainstream places where the average guy or gal can easily find their news fix in a more reliable fashion, post about them in the comments so we can all give them a shot. Finding sources to trust will be difficult work, no doubt. Just as it will be difficult to build a list of non-trusted sources. But it’s worthwhile work, and it’s work that needs to be done.

7 thoughts on “They Screwed It Up Again

  1. I get most of my news from am radio. In CA I listen in on AM 560 & in MN I tune into AM 1500. They’re conservative stations so they usually put a conservative spin on the news…but I’ve never heard them criticized for getting their facts straight. Plus, a lot of the shows include people calling in to share, ask questions, give more info, etc. so if they did get something wrong, they’d hear about it. Plus, it makes my commute a good time because I look forward to hearing people tell it like it is.

    I hate CNN. They suck.

  2. That’s wicked weak sauce they messed up again and to an even greater degree. The beauty of Child’s Play is it was a totall free will thing that gamers responded to en force. Out of no where gamers from around the globe dug into their pockets to buy games for children suffering much pain. This is a great story of a group of people, whom are normally assaulted by the media to no ends, serving the greater good. This could have been a great boon to the gamer image…..if only someone bothered to ask a few questions or have any jounalistic integrity.

  3. That seems like an incredibly sweeping generalization to condemn all “major media” outlets on the basis of one news report (which, by the way, you don’t even mention who botched up the story). I’m guessing you probably have lots of other examples, but it sounds pretty one-sided.

    Often it’s the small-time local news outfits that can’t manage to get a story right.

    I usually check a number of different news sources (CNN, NPR, Star Trib, Christianity Today, Relevant, various blogs, etc.) so in the end I’ve usually heard a few different angles on a story and I can decide what’s legit and what’s not.

  4. Actually, that brings up a second point. I think that consuming too much media can begin to warp one’s mind towards thinking in the way the media trains us to think:

    1) Begin with fear
    2) Respond in outrage
    3) Criticize, criticize, criticize

    I should have been a bit more clear in what I wrote. I’m not simply saying that we should limit what sources we take in, but that we should limit the amount of news we take in, period. Sometimes knowing what’s going on in the world isn’t all that important. Honestly, think about it. How does it affect your relationship with God and those that God has put around you besides giving you something to discuss and argue about? Maybe the daily news isn’t worth quite so much time and energy, and that energy would be better spent elsewhere. I dare say one’s perspective on life changes greatly when one changes the inputs he or she receives.

  5. After thinking about this for awhile longer, I think I’ve got a better way to state what I’m trying to get at since I’m all over the board here. What I’m trying to say is that I don’t want to see my life through the media’s lens, whether the media I’m consuming is “major” or not. I’d rather wean myself off of it entirely and lessen its effects on my life as much as possible (especially any daily consumption I was doing previously) so that I can see things through my own eyes and not anyone else’s filter.

    Even if they’re not telling me lies or being inaccurate, the spin and the editing comes in even before that point. For instance, the stories they include and the stories they cut is a form of editing. I’d rather not fool myself into thinking that I’m smart enough to see Truth through that filter, when in some cases Truth is never even given. It’s just not worth the risk.

    When and if I have to get information from them, I’m going to start by being critical rather than starting by assuming I’m being told the truth until I spot something wrong.

  6. Hmmm…I think I know what you’re getting at, but I’d like to clarify one thing. While it may seem right to “see things through my own eyes” we need to constantly remember that we are just as susceptible to biasing & skewing the facts/truth as any person in the media. The filter is the Bible. That’s what it’s there for. Everything needs to stand the test of matching up with the Bible. Anything that fails to stand up to it is a lie and is Satan’s work to take the truth and twist it so that we are more easily led down a path of destruction.

  7. This is part of why I am looking forward to being an English teacher. I so full heartedly believe that much of society has evolved to some sort of twisted bottom feeder, picking up whatever comes along. Granted some of it’s good and from God, but so much of it is not, too much to let go unnoticed. That’s why I am excited to help kids think critiaclly about what they consume. Who knows, maybe they’ll notice some Truth in all the mess.

    Speaking of which, Josh, that has always been a good quality of yours. You often notice the bits of Truth in the rubbish and highight it. I think as Chrisitans it is key to learn this if we are to continue to have hope in a degenerating world. To live in it, but seperate from it.

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