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Media Watch--Silly Season Sets In

            Now that the election is behind us; we’ve avoided the fiscal cliff; and can only see the Newtown shootings through the rearview mirror, the media, both in New Hampshire and nationwide, seems determined to focus more and more on the silly and basically irrelevant.

            Three nationwide stories come to mind and two from Manchester.

            You may not know that Alabama is perhaps the greatest college football power ever assembled, but thanks to an off the cuff comment from announcer Brent Musburger, you certainly know that the Alabama quarterback’s girl friend is one hot looking woman.

             Give me a break; it was a three or four hour telecast; Brent spent a few seconds talking about a woman’s beauty, and you would think he’s some kind of dirty old man (in fact, he deserves to be in the sports casting Hall of Fame).

            Then, even as the President faces opposition on two or three of his new appointments (I support his right to choose his own people), what was the main stream media feeding of us in great gobs?  The strange signature of Secretary of Treasury nominee Jack Lew.  How many times do we need to hear about this or to actually see the signature?

            Then there’s weatherman Al Roker’s filling his pants during a White House visit (well…maybe not filling the pants, but that’s a gentler way of saying what he actually did).  How many times did we need to hear this from the main stream media, and I know it was treated as a major story because I’ve followed my New Years resolution of avoiding the food fight chat shows.  What kind of person would tell this story just to sell a book?  What kind of media would repeat it time and again?

            Speaking of food fights, at a time when Manchester faces tough decisions on the school and city budget front, how many column inches does the Union Leader need to treat us to regarding a pissing contest between a certain loathsome alderman and the police department?  Someone, perhaps knowing the low regard in which I hold the Alderman, asked me today what I thought of the story. 

The envelope please…

Like so much in the news today, I think it’s not worth thinking about.

            Then there’s the Union Leader-fed controversy over a radio talk show (on a station you can’t even get when you leave the city confines) host’s attempt to pick a person of the year.  Should it be a policeman shot in the line of duty or a free stater?  Even John DiStaso felt compelled to weigh in, devoting paragraph upon paragraph of his column last week to this silliness!

            Enough already of this phony controversy.

            Just because we have the technology doesn’t mean we have to use it.  Just because we’re in the age of the 24 hour news cycle certainly doesn’t mean we have to waste huge chunks of time.

            Can’t we focus on serious issues (like how my fudge failed to turn out properly…only kidding…this after all is a blog and not a major news source)?

            The age old question surfaces.  Does the media focus on trash news because we want it (as indicated by ratings) or is the media simply irresponsible in what it chooses to cover?

            Probably a bit of both, but I for one am sick of this focus on the silly.  (Maybe I need to start spending more time with NPR—even a moment would in fact qualify as more time—and PBS; not the News Hour please, anything but that!).

            A pretty woman at a football game; Al Roker’s digestive habits; a silly signature; a Manchester pissing contest; a high stakes game of person of the year?

            Frankly my dear, I just don’t give a damn!

             Welcome Aboard Shelley--Shelley Walcott, a Montreal native (always a plus for me), is Channel 9's newest news anchor.  I’ve only seen her for two nights, but I like her a lot so far.  It may sound like faint praise, but it’s actually the highest praise I can offer to say that I find her inoffensive.  All I ask in these “news readers” is they not offend me; that they not become happy talkers; not use strange high pitched squeals or phony voices in delivering the weather; not salivate as they give us sports scores.  Just read the news. 

            Tom Griffith has become a favorite through the years not because he’s a great investigative reporter or because he’s the best reader ever but rather because he rates high on the litmus test of not annoying us.  His colleague seems to be cut from the same cloth albeit with somewhat of a tendency to indulge in the happy talk nonsense.  Just give it to us straight Shelly, and you'll be fine.  I don't see her up on the Channel Nine website, and when I called the station, the newsroom misspelled her name as Wolcott, but it's Walcott.  Here she is thanks to the joys of google (Brent Musburger would probably call her pretty, maybe even beautiful...and would he be wrong for saying so?  Of course not).

Right On, Neal--Fox News business anchor Neal Cavuto (also the 4 p.m. host on the Fox News Channel--he's not among the Fox personalities I've resolved to avoid in 2013--he's actually very good) had tough but well deserved words for Lance Armstrong yesterday.  It's not simly that you're a cheat Lance, that's bad enough, but you lied to us for years and years.  You allowed us to make a hero out of you when you are little more than a liar and a cheat.  You made us wonder whether or not we can ever again trust our ability to like...dare I say to love...people in the public domain.  For making us question our own ability to use our brains and our hearts, Lance Armstrong is the lowest of the low.  That's what Neal said and sad to say, I must agree. 

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Reader Comments (3)

Steve –
Lance performed the highest of public service by underscoring how silly, vapid, corrosive, cult of celebrity is, and how weak the culture that prays at its alter. Kudos Lance! I always knew you were on the juice – just ask anyone remotely involved in pro-cycling how many Tour de Fraud participants are juiced (100%). And now, all those who were either too gullible or too stupid do too.
– C. dog
January 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterC. dog
I fear Lance is going to compound his sins by turning rat on other offenders. If this is his idea of how to get back in good graces, he's a bigger fool than we thought. Maybe we should just allow everybody to drug it up, and may the best druggie win. The Cavuto comment was very good, and others are joining in. There will be no redemption for a chronic liar, cheater, and RAT! Sad to say, I read--and loved--both his books. "It's Not about The Bike" was the first one. No, it's not about the bike, it's about the EGO.
January 17, 2013 | Registered CommenterRep Steve Vaillancourt
Alternatively, athletes could agree to rigorous drug testing, and severe penalties for transgressions to ensure their sport remain clean. So far, US baseball and football falls laughably short of the mark. Surprisingly, I hear professional cycling is making marked strides towards this goal. Ironically, had Lance been born about 20 years later, he may have been as squeaky clean as Super Man; it's all in the timing.
– C. dog
January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterC. dog

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