Saturday, January 23, 2010

Fair and Balanced? Newspaper Contradictions

January 14, 2009

Newspaper clips:
Last week the paper had an article in one section on all the great things the new, expensive cell phones can do; and in the Business section the same day it had a column by a financial guru extolling the virtue of NOT conspicuously consuming, and saying how austerity is becoming the new fashion.

This morning, on page 1 is an article on how oil-rich countries are devoting money to finding green sources of energy because they know the oil won’t last forever; in the Editorial section is a column by a guest writer, headlined, “It’s Time Washington Realized the Need to Drill.”

I guess that’s fair and balanced reporting.

September 1, 2009

The Farmer’s Almanac says it’s going to be bitter cold this winter from the Rockies to the Appalachians, with milder weather on the coasts. The National Weather Service says there will be warmer-than-normal temperatures across the country because of El Nino. I’m waiting to see who wins.

September 9, 2009

Damned if you do and damned if you don’t:
1. Consumers cut debt by a record $21.6 billion in July. Good, right? But no: apparently those pesky consumers are actually SAVING their money—or using it to pay down debt—instead of spending it to keep the economy going. Darn them!
2. We had a wetter-than-normal spring in Boise. Good for keeping down the forest fires, right? But no: once the rain wears off, the Gloomy Gusses said, all the underbrush that grew in Spring’s wet conditions would be a fire hazard in the dry season.
3. We’ve actually had a very mild fire season: Ten thousand acres so far, way down from 2007’s two million. Good, right? But no: When fire DOES take hold (next year, maybe), it will have THAT MUCH MORE FUEL to burn harder.

As the saying goes: Some people wouldn’t be happy if you hung ’em with a new rope!

That goes for newspapers, too, I guess. If they’re too perky, people think they’re not taking life seriously enough. On the other hand, how many articles can there BE on how to save money in the recession, cook more nutritious meals, make sure your kids are learning the right stuff, etc.? I get so depressed reading about all the things I’m not doing (or the headlines, rather, since I skip the articles these days), that I want to eat a ton of chocolate, buy a big-screen TV and let my kid run wild because I’m too down to really deal with her. Not the effect they were hoping for, I’m sure.

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