Sunday, December 02, 2007

Typical Overhyped TV Crime Stories
During the November Sweeps Period

In our continuing effort to chronicle the idiot culture, we bring you "news" from a typically empty local-TV "investigation" of crime at area malls. Served up during the November "sweeps" period, when ratings mania induces these environmental polluters to broadcast even more stupid and overhyped marginalia than usual, this WEWS stunt purports to uncover lots of "crime" at area malls. But when you click over to the actual stats, you find almost no violent crime, just a bunch of cars being stolen and broken into. There were only two rapes and no muggings or other kinds of assaults. That's a hell of a lot of mall visits by several million people over an entire year, and very little crime. Which of course should mean very little "news." But then, these idiots aren't in the news business; they merely pretend to be. So here's a suggestion: the next time you see one of these "news mannequins" (in Mark Naymik's immortal phrase, back when he wrote for the Free Times) rise to give a talk at some community event, feigning all the gravitas they can summon, do your best to ignore them, or perhaps even laugh. Because they deserve that, or worse.

6 Comments:

At 1:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You seem like you have healthy supply of brain cells, but when I read throwaway comments like this one--"There were only two rapes"--honestly, I genuinely wonder about who Mr. WWW really is. Sorry, but I find such glibness astounding and unsettling. And I'm not even going to get into the whole 'perspective is invariably colored by gender' thing, but really...
M├Ądchen

 
At 5:45 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

In retrospect, I understand how you might think this is a throwaway line, but it wasn't remotely meant that way. In the context of that entire item--and is it too much to ask to have it judged in the even larger context of everything you find on this blog?--I would hope you would see it as it was intended. Meaning this: when a news organization is going to do a story about crime at 18 malls over an entire year, meaning literally millions of visits by millions of people, the fact that there were only two violent crimes in all that time and in all those places, is a surprisingly low number, and utterly argues against the point that crime is rampant. To me, stolen and broken-into cars hardly counts. Only the rapes do, and there were only two of them.

 
At 1:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A news "organization" doing a dumb story shouldn't justify an equally dumb comment by someone who should know better. Maybe you keep typing the word "only" subconciously. But hey, get enough context in there and the victims practically had it coming... (And yes, I do understand your point about numbers, although it seemed a bit defensive.) As for the larger context of everything else on the blog? Sorry, I am no expert on that. But many blogs by their nature are unfiltered, and therefore, revealing, wittingly or not...

me

 
At 10:25 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Good enough. I'll let you have the last word on that.

 
At 8:04 PM, Blogger Cleveland Carole Cohen 3C said...

John, WEWS has been more like 19 Action news (CBS) for quite some time; which is to say, rag like. I think your point is well taken and I find it hard to watch any local newscast, although when I do it's WKYC; how do you feel about Scene magazine? I'm much more inclined to read the Free Times and sometimes find Scene to be over the top as well. Then I think of the British tabloids and I say well, not much different!

 
At 5:36 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Thanks, Carole. I only happened to catch this report online, via a link from a blog, because I don't watch any local news on TV anymore, other than the stray moments here and there when I happen to click past it. It really has all become so revolting, and I think you're right that the stations have all followed Ch. 19's tabloid approach downmarket.

I quite agree with you about Scene, which also has a tabloid sensibility. The chain's owners in Arizona began an alternative weekly as college students during the '60s, but their sensibility has since morphed into an odd and objectionable kind of faux-working-class-hero, which comes across as quite anti-intellectual. It tries to cater to (or maybe I should say panders to) what I would consider an especially ignorant strain of the population, which seems pretty weird, because that group doesn't really read anyway. I just don't trust the pub and don't like its personality, which is a pretty deadly combination.

While it has its own limitations, mostly in resources (all alt-weeklies have been hurt, some more devastated than others, by the steady march of classified ads to the web), the Free Times is by far the better, more honest publication, which at least tries to do the right thing most of the time.

 

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