Sensationalized reporting in mainstream media abounds, unfortunately. A seemingly constant stream of panic-inducing, angst-provoking news coverage designed to keep you watching—and frantically so. It would appear to be getting worse with every dramatized “breaking news” banner accompanied by ominous rifts of sound designed to set us all on edge.
Actual news organizations with professional journalists covering current events, such as MSNBC and CNN, seem in the running to be as bad and dangerously manipulative of the American public psyche as Fox. Perish the thought, as well as all journalistic integrity.
Never was this more prevalent than the tortuous, twisted hype of last week regarding the looming, or as some said, guaranteed government shutdown at the start of the new fiscal year on October 1. The news media was wrong all along, and they clearly didn’t give a damn.
Take the ridiculous “countdown to shutdown” clock appearing to the bottom right of the MSNBC screen, which wasn’t taken down immediately on Saturday night—even when Congress had already avoided an actual shutdown. They just had to keep milking it for a few more minutes, as if some disaster might magically occur for them to lick their collective corporate lips over.
It used to be the little things that bugged me, bits and pieces of on-air commentary contradicting what I’d learned while earning a journalism degree eons ago. Stuff like how you weren’t supposed to write or speak aloud the phrase “whether or not,” because it’s so obviously redundant when “whether” suffices. How the word “over” is a spatial representation for things such as “over the hill,” and “more than” is the proper term when discussing a number of years passed.
Or my personal gripe with TV commentators who take up limited airtime by saying “two thousand and twenty-three” for our current year. First, the word “and” is a no-no when verbalizing numbers. Second, what the hell with the two thousand thing? The year is twenty twenty-three. Maybe before 2010 this was necessary, but that was thirteen flipping years ago.
It almost feels like people on air see themselves as seeming more credible when they spew these too-many-word salads over and over again. It doesn’t. It sounds like they are using it to fill up airtime because they having nothing relevant to discuss or report.
Ditto with excessive and unprofessional use of “uhm” every other freaking word, constantly stating “you know”—if we did know we wouldn’t need you telling us—and the new and annoying ubiquitous use of “right?” by professionals who should damn well not need to do that. They sound vapid and immature.
Anyway, back to the incessant hype on TV news, which used to only manifest daily in places like Fox, an organization that definitely doesn’t deal in fact-based, or even reality-based, “news.”
I snark it up about Fox, as well as constant BREAKING NEWS!, beginning in my first Other Worldly novel, Alienable Rights. From a creative perspective, I also enjoy crafting click-bait and sensationalist headlines in all six novels, with more coming for book seven, Aliens Watch. In Being Alien, the focus is on insanity and inanity, not to mention sexism, of the paparazzi in the United Kingdom.
And yet, as is often the case, reality is more over the top than anything I or anyone else comes up with in fiction, except in this instance it is highly disappointing and daunting. Much like my disgust with corroded integrity of the legal profession, which is also part of my educational and working past—and covered with a vengeance in my Other Worldly novels.
Not to mention the stress all of this on-air blathering causes. I have found myself immediately changing the channel, or turning off the TV altogether. If it’s ratings MSNBC is after, they are losing me, repeatedly, on any given day. The last straw this past week was when they started in about the perils of air traffic controller hiring being hindered, yet the government was still more than 48 hours a way from a possible shutdown.
Life—and what’s happening in real life as reported on the news—has been traumatic enough since roughly 2015 for anyone with a modicum of human decency pulsing through their veins. But decency is no longer something to be expected from news organizations who clearly only care about making a buck at the expense of the sanity of the American populace. It’s irresponsible, unforgiveable, and, as my Other Worldly protagonist Rowan Layne would say, absolutely maddening.
Today is also the first Monday in October, which means the Supreme Court returns to wreak undemocratic havoc on civil and human rights. Yet another once hallowed institution now tainted and lacking in integrity due to greed-mongering demi-gods devised by the Federalist Society and other foments of fascism.