Manufactured Outrage

I hate to spill ink over something as ignorant as this, but I had to come back swinging eventually, so here goes.

Yesterday on twitter I let loose a series of tweets and decided, this morning to use them to test Storify.

What brought all this on? A lot of things. First, the virtual media blackout on the Title X issue of anything other than the most surface details. Quite honestly, I did more digging into that than the media did. This was a huge story that began back in February in the State legislture. Yet the details were summarily ignored with the exception of a few updates here and there and an editorial. For an issue that impacts our community this much, that’s just unacceptable.

I should say, it was ignored until there were 300 people at the County Commission meeting. Then it was an opportunity to drive their outrage quotient. They got their ratings, but they never really informed the public about any of the details of controversy. All this leads me to believe that the majority of the 4th estate in this city has taken a permanent vacation.

Then there was this ridiculous story about the city working to build a new website. Apparently the writer, or the editor decided that .04% of the total city budget for an enterprise website that will potentially require hundreds of people to be trained on and will provide a new, more navigable experience for people to better connect with their government is too much money. This “my 6th grader could do it” attitude is dumb.

I suggest that if WREG really wants to look at some big ticket items they expose how much of the budget toner cartridges and paper consume. How about pens and legal pads. Certainly employees should be able to bring their own. Or the overall printing budget of the city. We don’t need all those fancy forms in triplicate, right? We’ll just scratch them down on a cocktail napkin.

If the local media really wants to contribute to informing the people, they need to stop looking for the easy outrage and find one of the many REAL stories in this town to report. There’s plenty of REAL waste in the City and County government. There’s plenty of things to be suspect about. But all that’s too hard, and would require the reporters to have something more than a passing understanding of how government works, which ain’t gonna happen because no one thinks its important enough to be willing to pay for it.

So there ya go. If you’re ok with news reporting that is as substantial as Funyuns, then look no further than your local tabloid media outlet. If you want something a little more in depth, you’ll have to look really hard. Apparently the 4th estate is neither interested in investing in, nor do they see the need to, provide that to the people.

That’s sad, and it ultimately hurts our Democracy.

4 thoughts

  1. Steve.I certainly agree with you in the main, but I want to point out Daniel Connolly’s excellent reporting on the Electrolux deal. It is of course, relegated to the business section, which most people probably don’t read. I think the CA has some really good reporters, but they are restricted by the higher powers at the paper.

    1. Myra,

      I saw that piece and agree with you, that was some good stuff.

      I also agree that it’s not about the reporters but the editors, assignments, etc.

      But in the end, if we want more people engaged we have to have a main-stream media that’s actually reporting real things rather than just looking for the next police cruiser to chase or beating up on the City for choosing a local business to integrate an enterprise web site.

      These guys don’t have any connection to what’s really important, they just want to get people’s blood pressure up over piddly things.

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