Well, That’s “News” To Me

June 27, 2012

Humor

I wound up seeing the morning “news” while waiting for a ride in a lobby yesterday.  The stories?  A guy was filling his gas tank and playing with a lighter and set himself on fire.  A man pushed a woman out of a moving car.  There was a fire at an old folks home, and someone almost died (this one included “live” footage of the retirement home, which was no longer on fire).  A wedding party was taking pictures on a dock and the dock collapsed; no one was hurt.   A baby bear got in to a guy’s garage, then the mama bear came and got it out.  A drug addict kicked his way out of the back of a police car and attacked the cop.  Is any of this news?  At all?

Okay, fine, the thing with the bear is pretty great. Because baby bears are painfully cute, and the mama doesn’t just come in, she opens the garage door and basically says, in bear, “Get down from there right this minute!” 

But that still isn’t news, right?  I mean, none of those things affect my life.   The baby bear wasn’t in my garage.  If they had been I’d have tried to make friends, because I can’t see what could go wrong there, and who wouldn’t want a couple of bears as friends?

There was a traffic report, and that was the most hard-hitting thing to get reported.  That was the moment of life-impacting journalism.

I like to think, though, that at least one of the people up there, smiling away with blow-dried hair, is thinking, “I was going to be the next Dan Rather.  I could be in Afghanistan. I could be uncovering human rights abuses in Sierra Leone.  Look at me.  LOOK AT ME.  Oh, God, I need a drink.” And that this will eventually slip out on camera.

I know waking up to the complex truths of Syria, or whatever, is not a giggle, but seriously – we scare ourselves entertained with faux news and then the economy tanks, or war breaks out, and everyone thinks, “How did this happen?  This just came out of nowhere!”  But, I suppose if there’s suddenly an invasion of America’s garages by cute bears, we’re ready…

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About The Byronic Man

Recently voted "The Best Humor Blog in America That I, Personally, Write," The Byronic Man is sometimes fiction, sometimes autobiography. And sometimes cultural criticism. Oh, and occasionally reviews. Okay, it's all those different things, but always humorous. Except on the occasions that it's not. Ah, geez. Look, it's a lot of things, okay? You might like it, is the point.

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60 Comments on “Well, That’s “News” To Me”

  1. stedmaninfranceKate Says:

    You’re so right Byronic Man – I loathe watching the drivel that passes for news when it is sensationalist drivel. And awful too. Where are the uplifting stories to feed the heart and the mind?

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      There’s magazine that covers positive news that’s actually supposed to be quite well written. It’s actually focused on real issues and world events, it just highlights progress and positive events.

      Reply

  2. Life With The Top Down Says:

    We live on the opposite end of the country, yet we have almost the same local stories….now that is weird. The wedding party story was beyond lame. The bigger story there was the fact that the groom swam to safety as he left the maid of honor to save his new wife….she might want to define “better or worse” to her man.

    Reply

  3. customtripplanning Says:

    Sounds like you got the local news and you know what, not too bad…..the fire at the retirement home could have been a lot worse (there was one in Nashville a few years ago where 13 people died) and it means your area is not crime ridden. But I agree, we tend to stay in our cocoons and not think about serious issues and then most people, like sheep, join the group that yells the loudest and points fingers. People generally let the talking heads do the thinking for them.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Yes, obviously I’m not wishing the fire was worse, but zeroing in on the fear element – helpless people, fire – instead of the impact, really just serves to paralyze, as you say.

      Reply

  4. twindaddy Says:

    This is EXACTLY why I don’t watch the news. What’s worse, is when I’m watching prime-time TV on the local CBS affiliate here, they always have teasers during the commercial breaks to entice you to watch the news. “A local mom has the fatal period and bleeds to death….at 11.” All of the teasers end with….at 11.

    It’s beyond lame.

    Reply

  5. becomingcliche Says:

    That might be the best video I have ever seen! HE USED A LADDER!

    The real news there might have been the moron who trapped themselves in a garage with a baby bear while waiting for its mother to break in and save it.

    Reply

  6. Lorna's Voice Says:

    I try not to watch “the news” because it depresses me for more reasons than I can list: the fear-mongering for ratings, the “news personalities” posing as experts, the “news” that isn’t to distract us from the news that is (as you so humorously point out), and the blah, blah, blah. I can watch Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert and feel adequately informed while not feeling pandered to. Great post. Feels good to be back!

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      It’s the fear mongering that tips it from ridiculous distraction to something more insidious. Our world gets smaller and smaller, more and more terrifying.

      Reply

      • Jackie Cangro Says:

        So with you there B-man. I’ve stopped watching the news altogether. And guess what? I’m not “missing out” at all. I don’t lag behind in conversations at the water cooler. The real and important news gets to me regardless. I sleep well at night.

        Reply

        • funnyphuppo Says:

          That is the one thing that used to really depress me in the US when I lived there, and from what I have seen it is not that different in Switzerland, all the news that was non-news, when people were suffering and dying all over the world from wars, natural disasters and starvation.
          The only time international news was shown in any context was to promote the government propaganda. The worst affect I saw of this contrast was when half of Pakistan was under flood waters and the general public in the US and parts of Europe could only say “Good riddance”.

          Reply

          • The Byronic Man Says:

            And it’s really hard to tell if this is in fact something new, or we’re just recurrently horrified. You look at Network, satirizing just this in the 1970’s, yellow journalism of the 1910’s, the sensationalistic rags of the mid-1800’s…

            Reply

  7. Elyse Says:

    Personally, I blame Baba Wawa for the beginning of the end of news. When folks started taking her seriously, “personality” replaced “news” and we are all the poorer for it.

    This post was a particular gem, Bryonic.

    Reply

  8. mkultra76 Says:

    I’m glad I am not the only one who feels this way! If I want to know what is going on in the world, I wind up watching BBC News, and I always wind up saying, “Well, I didn’t know THAT was going on in the world!” One of our local morning news programs is on from 4:30 until 9:00. I would say that there is roughly 10 minutes of actual news, surrounded by cooking, fashion, and traffic. Ugh!!

    Reply

  9. susielindau Says:

    There is too much “real” news out here. And now the fires! I posted some of my own pictures yesterday. I am ready for things to slow down so they begin reporting kitten rescues again.

    Reply

  10. Kate Says:

    Oh god, our national news tonight was a ‘sneak preview’ of a statue of a state footballer – literally sneak, they filmed its uncovered head and the rest of it in layers of bubblewrap. This was followed by something useless which I’ve had the good grace to forget.

    Maybe if we had bears, I’d be better informed about the state of things…

    Reply

  11. Go Jules Go Says:

    I hear you! Although I did hear some newsworthy today, as far as I’m concerned – Nora Ephron passed away. I am seriously thinking about Tweeting about it as if that might make me feel better. I am officially what’s wrong with the world. (I wanted to punch myself, but then I decided to ask HBO if I could have a horse to punch instead. I’m waiting to hear back. ;))

    I do have a soft spot for news anchors who lose it. It’s comedy gold.

    Reply

  12. artzent Says:

    It can be very aggravating. My son in South Florida had to call me in North Florida to tell me that I needed to pay attention to the storm. He knew more about it than I did in the middle of it! I have found that GPO gives me more real news than all the other stations put together. They also have Intelligence Squared,Travis Smiley, and many documentaries that are great! All Public stations are far better for real news!
    Good post, Could not agree with you more!

    Reply

  13. Bethylicious Says:

    I was just ranting about this yesterday except my favorite bit of “news” is everything that sounds like this: “(GASP!) Rachel Ray & Kim K. Caught Wearing The Same Dress!” “Kristen Stewart’s $1000 Pants” and so on and so forth. If that constitutes as pertinent news, then I want to report it so I can at least deliver a little sliver of truth along with it. Like “Kristen Stewart’s *HIDEOUS* $1000 Pants” & “Rachel Ray & Kim K. Caught Wearing The Same Dress & How Intelligent Life Forms Don’t Give A Hairy Baboon’s Blue Behind!” Now THAT is an article I would read; ‘Hairy Baboon’s Blue Behind’ is quite the attention grabber….

    Reply

  14. pegoleg Says:

    That bear video is too adorable, but it’s an internet, YouTube thing, not news. Real, factual, unslanted news is getting hard to find, and it’s also increasingly hard to recognize.

    I disagree with Lorna (sorry, still love ya!) Colbert and Stewart are not reporting the news, they’re doing comedy routines spring-boarding off what’s in the news. Fox does lots of hard news, but many programs are commentators giving their opinions based on the news. People need to realize that neither Hannity nor Stewart are reporters, they’re commentators. But Stewart is a lot funnier.

    Hope the lack of funny in this comment is ok. I’ll do better next time.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      The “court jester” is a critical role to play, and Stewart does it admirably – satirizing the king, and all, but it’s true, that it can’t exist in lieu of news. The end goal of The Daily Show always has to be humor. The information is legitimate, and for many the method of delivery is more effective than the alternative, but there’s the very real danger of the “spoonful of sugar” replacing the medicine, instead of easing its application.

      Reply

  15. Erynn Elizabeth Says:

    You know, this is an interesting point- and I will say that sadly, I doubt it is something that will improve. I did my grad studies in a fairly serious/ intense journalism school- and I can attest to the fact that they are not bringing out students to truly inform in the broadcast setting. Heck, even in written form- you are encouraged to write as the average person would speak, not as the average person should aspire to speak.
    Broadcast is the worst though, as you are told to basically do everything you have ever been taught is bad writing- use cliches, assume your audience is a middle aged stay at home mom and don’t try to enlighten her- just try to hold her attention.
    I might be wrong, but I guess I’m of the opinioin that journalism is something of a social duty, and it shouldn’t pander to the less intelligent denominator, because that just does everyone a disservice by keeping dumb people dumb. It’s like.. if I’m reading a news story and there are words I don’t understand (not likely, but still) isn’t it a good thing if I am confused enough to look something up?

    Reply

  16. andshelaughs Says:

    Great post! FABULOUS! After leaving ‘journalism’ to do real work in hospice, I was that reporter needing a drink! Last year I posted – No News Is Bad News ; Muckrakers needed. Thanks for posting!

    Reply

  17. Paranormal DIY Diva Says:

    Aw, that video was so cute! Little baby bear didn’t know what to do at first. lol But, you’re right though, it isn’t really news. /shrugs

    Reply

  18. earthriderjudyberman Says:

    This is why I usually avoid TV news. The wedding party crashing into the pond (and similar mindless stories) … Yawn.

    As a former newspaper journaliist, I worry that as newspapers dwindle and jobs there are lost that we’ll lose out on real information. Enough is done in the name of greed while the media is watching and reporting.

    Imagine what the scoundrels would do if we were all sidetracked while they gouged us in the form of higher taxes and fees for services.

    Reply

  19. Rob Says:

    TA-RUTH! Why hasn’t “The News” become a sub-category of “Reality TV” yet?

    Reply

  20. Michelle Gillies Says:

    There is a new show on HBO called “The Newsroom”. If you have saw the pilot it pretty much depicted what news rooms used to be like. The kind of news room you got into the biz to be a part of…sigh…

    Reply

  21. madtante Says:

    I’d rather see any of the mentioned small-time stories than ONE celebrity “news” on a news broadcast for the same reason: celebrities “doings” really don’t affect me.

    Reply

  22. thesinglecell Says:

    The thing about the news is that it’s a business just like any other. Some of its coverage choices are based in part on what will get people to watch. That’s how it generates ratings. Ratings determine commercial sale prices, which determines station profit, which determines staffing, etc. With all the competition for attention between local, cable and internet sources, the respective pieces of the pie are smaller and smaller, so they have to work harder and harder to get an audience. What you’re seeing is a reflection of society. Plus it was a morning show, and they don’t generally go too hard that early. (And you didn’t bring this up, but I have a personal pet peeve about people who complain about crime on the news but spend evenings watching CSI, Law & Order, NCIS, etc.)

    One other point: there is a danger in deciding not to watch the news, and instead to seek our information elsewhere. It leads to us creating our own specialized niches of what we care about, and leaves us ignorant of that which we do not choose to know. It’s hard to argue that we need to know about baby bears and collapsing docks during wedding photo shoots, but we do need to know about our local area, if only to prevent the narrow, blinded focus that leaves us clueless when it comes time for local elections.

    Reply

  23. thesinglecell Says:

    Oh, PS: Who the hell quietly records things with a camera phone while a MAMA BEAR BREAKS INTO THEIR GARAGE?

    Reply

  24. howtoonlinedate Says:

    Awesome…btw: love your bear translation :0)

    Reply

  25. Anastasia Says:

    Aren’t these just the weird-noos stories that show up as fluff at the end of the real stuff? What torques me is watching BBC/CNN (whatever, even Al Jazeerah) and seeing the SAME piece over, and over, and over, and over. Same footage, same information. I think major news could run twice a day, for 10 minutes, and still cover all the pertinent information without wasting so much of our time. And anyone who missed it, should wise up and get a smart phone/internet plan. But thanks for the bear tip. I didn’t watch it before, but I’m going to now. 🙂

    Reply

  26. spilledinkguy Says:

    ‘How ’bout that! Hahaha! That squirrel can water-ski. Hahaha!’
    *in my best Ron Burgundy*

    Reply

  27. crying in the bathroom Says:

    Who wouldn’t want a couple of bear friends?

    Goldilocks.

    Reply

  28. Silva Gang Says:

    Hey, at least you don’t live in Hawaii! Over here, what constitutes “news” is the Department of Transportation fixing potholes, and a rooster running through traffic! 😉

    Reply

  29. Misirlou Says:

    Fun news = the opiate of the masses. Its a conspiracy to keep people uninformed about what’s really going on.

    Yes. Kidding, Kind of.

    Reply

  30. freddyflow Says:

    Is there an autotuned version of human rights abuses in Sierra Leone on YouTube?

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      We need a new word in the English language: a word for feeling shocked and stunned, yet not surprised. That’s how I would feel at finding out such a video existed.

      Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The “Reel” News… « - June 29, 2012

    […] life changing and in-depth reporting you receive from your local news casts, then neither this blog post by, nor the video below are for […]

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