22 February, 2006

Types of News

With so much news out there and channels and channels of all-day news one begins to notice different elements that make this pillar of democracy that much more fun.

1. Breaking news - something, no matter how insignificant that has occurred within the last 24 hours. Also marked by an incredible lack of any sort of information. To avoid seeming unprofessional and speculating, the news people just repeat that they don't know a thing.
Example: "Breaking News: Bill Clinton's dog just barked at a cat. Repeat dog barked at a cat. We are unsure what type of cat or why the dog was barking. For that matter we don't know who Bill Clinton is, what our names are and why we're wearing nothing but purple boxers."

2. Developing news - news that is no longer breaking, marked by rampant speculation and repetition.
Example: "Reagan is dead - we've been covering this story since it broke more than a year ago and we can report he is still dead. We repeat dead. Repeat Dead. Did we mention dead? Because he is. Dead that is.... Ronald Reagan is still dead. Of course he may have turned into a zombie in the meantime and is wandering the streets of American cities looking for fresh brains. We don't know which city he could be in but he could have his own helicopter and be flying all over the place, of course it's best to panic.... and buy duct tape(if you buy a lot of duct tape for no reason zombies will think you're really dumb and leave your brain alone). Again, just in case you missed it - Reagan... still dead, possibly a zombie, for 24 hour coverage watch this station.

3. Fair and balanced news - a story that has two sides, even if one side's best representative is zombie Ronald Reagan.
example: "...and now we will debate whether breathing air is evil. First, some scientist out of one of those liberal America hating learning places.... Harvard Medical school
Scientist: If you don't breathe air, you die, simple as that
Broadcaster: Shut up Frenchy. And now for the opposing view it's Reverend Mad Bob Bob from the Nucular Church of Nose Picking, Reverend, your opinion?
Bob Bob: Bagoooba..... bah bah blem. Air bad.
Broadcaster: I agree completely. We'll be back with more from Reverend Bob Bob after these messages.
Bob Bob: blem ba ba blip!"

4. Reader poll - When journalists pretend to care about their viewers by letting them vote. While saying that the polls are not meant to be accurate, they somehow manage to be far more accurate than voting machines.
Example: "Remember to vote in our poll: Would you like zombie Ronald Reagan to come to your house and eat your brain?"
(note: the results were 51% opposed and 49% in favour)

5. The news ticker - a magical device that manages to run headlines of stories completely irrelevant to what's being talked about"
Example: (ticker during a story about a large tsunami hitting a populated area) "Surfing fun, study finds."

6. Propaganda(i.e. the rest of the news) - stories that promote our Glorious Corporate and Theocratic Overlords - to make it not seem so....um.... Stalinist? Propaganda is often done through questions.
Example: "And now a closer look at how great our Glorious Leader is. Is he great? Or supergreat? And are we emboldening our enemies by not declaring him supergreat? Are his critics enemies or should they be labeled "enemy combatants" so we can torture them(in accordance with the spirit of the Geneva convention)?

So that's the news for you. Instead of promoting democracy - they debate things not worth debating while giving lip service to listeners and readers to pretend like they care. If they're not bought by the government, they're bought by corporations. So just remember, democracy isn't free. Over 200 years ago, a bunch of guys fought a war and gave their lives for democracy. They toiled over every word of the Constitution, they actually believed that freedom of speech was important and that having a king was incompatible with having a democracy. Democracy will stand as long as people continue to believe in it, understand it and not undermine it for short term, petty goals. The news media, politicians won't change until the public demands it, because with a non-apathetic public they'd never get away with what they're getting away with now.


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