Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Blogging About the News . . . paper

I’m going to be honest; there is something about blogging about the state of print media that really tickles my fancy.  I feel like an Oldsmobile newsletter author in 1929 writing a piece on the current state of buggy manufacturing.   Anyway, what inspired me to write has already seen some decent writing, primarily from Village Green Town2.  She started talking about it here with a follow up here.  Her stuff is quite compelling and she is more succinct than I am so if you haven’t already I encourage you to check it out.

A lot has been said about the sorry state of modern journalism generally, not to mention the sparseness of it locally and my beef here is not with the reporters[1].  In two successive pages, three items spell out how sad things are and how sad they will likely be until it is mercifully over.

Item #1

Instead of writing their own editorial on, well anything at all, the Flier editorial staff simply handed over the reins to Executive Kittleman and printed an unedited copy of his defense of veto letter on nutritional standards.  Now, this one could have been worse.  They could have, with marginally more effort, simply rearranged the words and printed it as their own.  We’ve all read editorials and known they were regurgitating what they had been spoon-fed.[2]  At least they respected themselves or maybe even their readers[3] enough to acknowledge it as a propaganda piece by slapping Kittleman’s name and picture on it.

Item #2

Doug Miller writes an Op-Ed on the nominations in the County, which you know I have talked at length about, and so has every other blogger.  Here is my beef: there wasn’t any.  You ever watch a British period piece movie?  I usually spend them having the following conversation with whomever I’m watching the movie with “Did something important just happen?  I feel like that was a thing but I can’t tell, nothing actually happened.”[4]

The piece reads as written by someone who is barely, and I mean BARELY, paying attention to the process at all.  Here is the most illustrative statement “Council member Calvin Ball’s appeal for a ‘conversation’ about why Kittleman wants to replace someone eligible for reappointment with someone new is reasonable enough, but Kittleman’s under no obligation to spell it out.”  BOOM.  No, that’s not it.  WHIFF.

Item #3

That cartoon bugs me to no end.  If you didn’t see it, it shows a satellite rounding Pluto with the words “Made in Howard County.  No Sugary Drinks on Board.”  I get jokes.  I can even get and appreciate jokes/cartoons that take positions I don’t agree with.  This one ignorantly continues a false narrative, which is pretty insidious.  Like “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” false narratives take hold as truth the more they are repeated.  In this case a bill about better options but still is including the bad ones (like sugary drinks) being portrayed as a prohibition.  Of course the cartoon is usually a graphic representation of the week’s editorial, but since the week's editorial was propaganda furthering the false narrative, maybe the cartoon was right on point.

[1] Well reporter singular these days but still, it’s not with her.
[2] That’s not aimed specifically at the flier/sun/tribune but they’re not immune either.
[3] All nine of us.  OK, that might be one snark too far.  Apologies.
[4] I know that’s a one sided conversation, but let’s be honest, by the time anything that could be construed as a thing happens in a British period piece, everyone’s asleep anyway.

1 comment:

  1. Print media has limited reach, its coverage is increasingly unsatisfying, and considered Opinions are often absent. The public conversation about issues in Howard County mostly happens in e-groups, social media, and the blogs. Thank you for your contributions to the fray. Howard County would be well-served by an online "newspaper" like Maryland's own Chestertown Spy http://chestertownspy.org/about-2/the-chestertown-spy/.