In the words of one of My favorite cartoon dads, Peter Griffith, “You know what really grinds my gears?” I will confess, as a journalist and self proclaimed nerd I spend an inordinate amount of time either watching news broadcasts or reading articles online. Sometimes I get angry watching the news and it took me some time to realize why certain broadcasts made my gears grind more than others. Once I finally realized what it was that angered me so I vowed I would never do those things to my readers. Let me tell you what gets my gears grinding.
- I HATE and I do not use the word hate lightly at all, the fact that the mainstream media has a way of constantly disrespecting President Obama when reporting stories involving him. Over the years I’ve heard and read a multitude of stories on sitting and former presidents alike and they are always referred to respectably, until now. Today when you hear or read a news story you may see something like “Former president George Bush.” When a president retires he gets secret service for life and people may still address him as “Mr. President” yet for some reason I repeatedly notice reporters speak of or write about President Obama and use the term “Mr.” That grinds my gears so bad. I HATE to hear people call him “Mr. Obama”. He is a man who worked hard to earn the title he has and that title is “President”. I think it should be considered an offense when journalist denote his position as “Mr.”
- It makes my gears grind in over time when I hear about a hot media story through social networks and then wait for my local news or even major newspapers to cover it and they don’t. Case in point, a little over a week ago I woke up shocked as I read through some of the underground media sites that 400 people had been arrested in Washington, D.C. at the Capitol Building in one day. See, I live in Baltimore, 45 minutes away and most of the major news stories out of D.C. trickles into our news. My news cast showed nothing that morning and I watched for hours. I called my best friend who lives in D.C. and asked him what was going on out there. He lived in D.C. and his news reports hadn’t said anything either. It turned out to be a revolutionary campaign called Democracy Spring, over the course of 7 days there were over 1,000 people arrested including reporters and other notable figures.
- The worse thing that media outlets do that annoys the crap out of me is use misleading headlines to reel me in. It’s a tactic that’s been around forever, they’ve always used it on the news to keep you tuned in. The headline will be something like “ the danger lurking in your medicine cabinet”, then you find out they mean expired pills. I get so irritated when I think I’m about to learn something and there’s nothing there. Either the story reports recycled information or gives nothing of value.
I miss the old days of journalism, where reporters where seriously respected because people knew that they believed in the stories they told. The days before tabloid journalism took over. I love TMZ but sites like TMZ and publications like Star Magazine and Us Weekly gave headlines more attention than the story. Mainstream news outlets had no choice but to follow suit to keep up. What we get from mainstream media now is so depressing at times. It’s almost as if it’s become a scripted series or a reality show. It’s all about sensationalism, not substance and that leaves so many of us uninformed, misinformed and misguided.
The media tells you what you should care about, how often they loop a story is a direct indication of how much they want you to pay attention to it. Some stories that should be reported as headline news get buried or worse, axed out. We’re stuck looking for underground sites and publications, willing to tell the stories the mainstream media won’t. We’re forced to seek the opinions of journalist not working for major sites controlled by corporate sponsors from Fortune 500 companies.
I’ve found that my anger has led me to an improvement in myself and my writing as well. I was so excited when I finally had the chance to become a journalist myself and do things differently. I find myself paying more attention to details like names and titles. I’ve also figured out a niche for my writing through my contempt for mainstream media’s blackout on topics important to me.
Still I miss the old days of journalism, however, I am glad I was around to be inspired by them.