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.