Adrienne BoettingerTuesday,29 October 2013

The Snap:

With the average human having the attention span of a fruit fly, it’s difficult to keep people glued to stories not involving celebrity breakups, breakdowns, etc. Plus news outlets’ budgets are diminishing faster than my sanity, they’ve closed or will close many of their bureaus and their main goal has shifted from maintaining credibility as news organizations to dancing around like lunatics to keep ratings up. I get it; bills gotta get paid. I still long for the days when people attempted to corroborate their sources’ juicy bits of cray-cray before broadcasting them. That’s why This Month in Jackassery goes to the 24-hour noose cycle.

The Download:

I’ve given up most news sources that aren’t NPR, The Daily Show, Colbert Report, and my domestic and foreign news-crushes, Brian Williams and Richard Engel. I never could stomach Fox “News,” CNN makes my right eye twitch and the rest are even worse.  Seriously, if I have to watch Wolf Blitzer stand in front of another damn countdown clock, I may no longer be responsible for my actions. The pressure of having to inform/entertain people 24-hours a day means the bar for newsworthiness has been lowered so far we can’t see it anymore. It’s like no one feels they have the time or requirement to fact check.

Print and online media are no exception. It’s not a story if someone else tells it first so go ahead and pin all your reporting to an “anonymous angry park ranger” and mysterious initials on court documents.  The former refers to Washington Times reporting that an anonymous park ranger said he was ordered to make the government shutdown as painful as possible, scads of conservative news sites running that story into the ground and August’s winner of This Month in Jackassery, Darryl Issa, deciding a Congressional hearing is in order (puh-lease! As if Congress needed help making the shutdown painful). Thank God they don’t have anything else like looming deadlines or gridlock to tend to.

The latter refers to AP reporter Bob Lewis getting canned after incorrectly assuming that “T.M.” in court documents stood for Terry McAuliffe — democratic candidate for governor of Virginia — and as such reported McAuliffe was guilty of lying to a federal investigator. Unlike many other journalists who act as if they never make mistakes or take shortcuts leading them astray, Lewis admitted he was wrong. Despite that and a pretty solid 28-year track record as a reporter, the AP fired him.

Everyone makes mistakes. That’s not the issue. The issue is a clear disregard for fact checking, double checking or any other type of checking that doesn’t involve glancing at ratings or site views.

p.s. Congress, don’t be sad you were bested for This Month in Jackassery. You really gave it your all with the shutdown and general inability to do anything other than hold a press conference or campaign. I just couldn’t bear to think about you all so soon. See you next month. XOXO!


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Hat Tips:

Huffington PostTeam CocoBusiness InsiderPoliticoWonketteWashington TimesSlateWashington Post, Image Credit: Flickr

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