Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Cast Aside

So I called an organization today because I'm reporting on breaking news only they could answer. Many news outlets have dealt with them over the past few days, and I was put on hold with the director for over five minutes.

The interview hadn't begun when I'm told the local TV news van pulled up and could I possibly call back in an hour.

Really? You're pulling that shit with me? I have to terminate my interview after being told to wait on the phone because the fucking TV news is there?

What a festering mound of iguana shit!

If you have any doubt about the power of TV versus print, here's your example. Our local TV news station is run by tranquilized Rhesus monkeys and still people laud them as the bulwark of truth. They stagger in late to meetings, usually with a cameraman who resembles a scruffy crack addict, and an attractive reporter who looks like she headed her sorority's pledge class. Everyone from public officials to normal humans genuflect in their anointed presence as the camera begins rolling and the sound bites start flying.

Look, I get how a local weekly newspaper is about as effective as a woman taking a pregnancy test one month after conception. I get how the Internet is the Grand Poobah of media, how not having an online presence spells extinction for print.

What I don't get is how this organization can push me aside for the local TV news when I was on the phone waiting for an interview. This isn't the first time I've been cast aside because the coiffed and buffed overpaid mannequins of local TV barged in with a grandiloquent flourish.

There really isn't anything positive I can say about TV news. I find it manipulative, shallow and inane. It's a sensationalistic sideshow responsible for dumbing down the issues, distilling them into easily digestible sound bites and squirting them into the viewer's brains. Whenever that news van shows up, something magical occurs. Rational people lose their sanity and are turned into groveling morlocks from the Hollow Earth.

"Oooh, look! It's the local TV news! Look at how stunning the reporter is! She's got the wholesomeness of Kelly Ripa with the sassiness of a German dominatrix!"

The more I work as a print journalist, the more I'm convinced my life is one cosmic joke. Like Jim Carey in "The Truman Show", I'm trapped in a world not of my making. My life is one gargantuan Skinner Box filled with tantalizing rewards and cruel punishments. I'm beaten down severely, reminded that everything is suffering, that intelligence and effort don't matter, and douchebags in suits reap rewarding careers and respect.

Since America is an illiterate funhouse filled with whining children, obese mothers in muumuus and angry men screaming partisan rhetoric at their radios, this slight by TV news makes sense. It's a frustrating experience going to work every day to interview people, writing the words, accurately portraying events and crafting a news story only to be stopped by someone who doesn't appreciate print. Whether words on paper or a screen, language and writing matter. TV relies on images, folksy personalities and attractive presenters. Whether substance leaks through into the broadcast is purely incidental.

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