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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old September 15th, 2001, 10:58 AM   #1
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Media Coverage of 9/11

On Tuesday, September 11, the day after I linked this community from the Watchdog, I was scheduled to fly to Amsterdam for the IBC trade show with my good friend David Locke from VariZoom Lens Controls. Our flight would take us from Austin, Texas through Dulles Int'l in Washington D.C. on to Holland, on a United Airlines 777.

Less than an hour prior to leaving for the airport, my wife called from her work to ask if I had heard the news about a bombing in New York. I assured her that since we were travellng through Washington D.C., we had nothing to worry about.

Then I turned on CNN and learned of the nationwide FAA groundstop. I promptly called her back, to tell her we weren't going anywhere, then sat on the couch, slack-jawed, stunned and horrified at what was happening to this country. Since that time, I've had the television on quite a bit, mostly on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and ABC News.

Several days later, I have somewhat positive but mostly mixed feelings about the *way* the mass media, in particular CNN, MSNBC and the four major networks have been handling their coverage.

Does anybody have any comment on this topic? Thanks,
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Old September 17th, 2001, 06:48 AM   #2
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Hi Chris,

I live in Seoul, Korea...about a stone's throw from three different US military installations. I'm surrounded, in fact. The only English language TV station here is AFKN, which is part of the Armed Forces Network.

Since last Tuesday, they've been showing 24 hour rotations of different news channels. They'll show MSNBC for a day, then switch to CNN, then switch to another.

One interesting thing that happened here...at first, when the attack first occurred, ABCNEWS with Peter Jennings was on exclusively for the first 36 hours or so. I'm not sure what Peter Jennings said or did, but suddenly ABCNEWS was pulled and the rotation began. There are certain elements of "free speech" that the military won't stomach. I'm still trying to find out what happened.

The thing I've noticed is that all the stations are trying to "one up" each other with new developments, it seems. Also, they showed amazing restraint at the time of the attack...for instance, choosing not to show people jumping from the building. I noticed this at the time and applauded their restraint.

But it seems that the need to one up each other is suddenly loosening their convictions...and the instant integrity that was displayed by the media is slowing sliding into a ratings race again.

One other thing I can comment on...the Armed Forces Network is commercial free. The only commercials that are shown are announcements to the troops. There are constant announcements now telling them to get ready, and messages designed to build their spirits. They're obviously censoring the "talking heads" that are being shown on the networks with their messages about the illegality of retaliating, and also those like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson who say that God was punishing us for our own evils...but it's understandable that you don't want your fighting forces to go into battle with any doubts or hesitation.

I just hope the media doesn't drain the spirit that has erupted since the attack.
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Old September 25th, 2001, 10:13 AM   #3
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Interesting how things work over there, John.

I would have to admit that Peter Jennings had the most level-headed, even-handed coverage of all the various majors. I was rather impressed with Court TV's technical reporting. Their anchors are lame, but their guests know their stuff.

I think there's some kind of contest between CNN (Crap Not News) and MSNBC to see who can be the most "MTVish" of all. MSNBC's programming on sat continues to be "Attack on America" while CNN touts "America's New War."

Overall I think they've all done a most surprisingly good job, although I have had reservations about some stuff I've seen.

What worries me is how all this coverage affects one of my favorite programs of all time... The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central. It excels at making a mockery of the news, but now, with the weight of current events, making a mockery of the news is suddenly inappropriate. I hope the Daily Show's best days aren't over just yet. We need programs like that to remind us that the MTV news channels (CNN & MSNBC) are first and foremost, *entertainment* than they are anything about real news.

Of course, that's just my opinion. Debate welcome...
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Old October 19th, 2001, 05:48 PM   #4
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Well, for my money, boyz'n'grrlz, it's FoxNews that's the least biased and which airs many different stories related to the main story instead of just endlessly harping on the main story. It also runs some interesting commentary and interview shows where you get to see lots of points of view. And now you have *my* POV.
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Old October 20th, 2001, 07:36 AM   #5
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CNN/MSNBC/ FOX

I watched Fox for a little while but then realized that were always behind the curve in their reporting. They seem to wait for CNN to lead the way then they pick up their reports. We use to call that rip 'n read. CNN has outperformed the others in terms of news reporting, mainly because they are so well set up internationally. However, when it comes to analyzing the news, I would give the edge to MSNBC. If you're a rightwinger, which I'm not, then clearly Fox is your network. They have done a very good job at pandering to that demographic.

Peter Jennings is a Canadian who never went to college. He looks and sounds good, but isn't really qualified to be an anchor.
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Old October 21st, 2001, 10:39 AM   #6
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Since most news shows are fixed on reporting the same breaking news repeatedly, often passing along information before a real story develops, I've become more impressed with the format of shows like 60 Minutes - shows that offer thoughts and ideas to go with current events.

Andy Rooney's latest was interesting - sell America. Having worked in sales (and advertising), this piece made me laugh... why didn't I think of this? Fire up the XL1, my RexRT, and spread the goodness of what America is. :-)

What I like about 60 Minutes:
- ideas and commentary I didn't expect (whether I agree or not)
- they cover news from a different angle, without getting excessively fluffy as MSNBC & CNN tend to do when trying to cover similar aspects.
- the show does not feel like I'm watching Oprah or MTV (as MSNBC & CNN fall victim to)
- they actually have insight into events. I tire from hearing professionals stating the glaringly obvious as news: "We've got to go back to normal living"... "It's important to keep the economy going"... "The terrorists cannot win"... It's "News for Dummies"



Here's the link to Andy Rooney's commentary in case anyone is interested.

http://www.cbsnews.com/now/story/0,1597,314658-412,00.shtml
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Old October 22nd, 2001, 01:55 PM   #7
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Well, it is gratuitously dismissive to call what Fox does "pandering," although it is true that the "rightwinger demographic" will find Fox a refreshing change from the rest of the working media (92% of whom voted for Clinton), which has been known to relentlessly push lefty commentary and masquerade it as reportage. This could explain why Fox is eating CNN alive in the ratings.

I agree that CNN "leads the way" and "outperforms the others" in running stories that it must later retract (can you say Operation Tailwind, boys and girls?). It earned the nickname "Clinton News Network" when it tapped a former top Clinton associate --a Friend of Bill-- as its VP of News.

And when it comes right down to it, the traditional media have all been scooped by one nerd in a fedora who busted all hell loose with his breaking of the Lewinsky matter--actually his real story was the story of how Newsweak killed the story: Mike Isikoff vetoed publishing the Lewinksy news. And the rest is history.

I appreciate y'all's input on this. Now let me go and get the latest facts: www.drudgereprt.com...
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Old October 22nd, 2001, 05:47 PM   #8
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Back to DV

Gosh, I would feel just awful if anyone with half a brain thought that I was being gratuitously dismissive of the poorest excuse for a network (FOX) which is run by the poorest excuse for a human being (Murduck).

Now before we spiral into a political discussion I'd like to change gears and see if anyone knows which DV camcorders are being used by the news channels. I've seen a lot of footage that looks like XL-1 to me.
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Old October 23rd, 2001, 10:28 AM   #9
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>>>Now before we spiral into a political discussion ...<<<

Too late! It already has! You started it with:

>>>If you're a rightwinger, which I'm not, then clearly Fox is your network. They have done a very good job at pandering to that demographic. <<<

So, you go ahead and watch whatever channel you think matches your perceptions and agenda, and I'll tune my own dial, but at least I'll steer clear of the namecalling:

>>>poorest excuse for a network<<<

and ad hominem attacks:

>>>poorest excuse for a human being (Murduck [sic]*). <<<

that are so typical when someone's sacred cow is being challenged. I'll leave that kind of talk to Sharpton, Carville and Flynt and ilk.


*=I am assuming the variant spelling of Rupert Murdoch's name to be some kind of insider humor that I'm not in on. I'm just a country boy!


Now, as for the DV camcorder matter, actually I thought *that* was kind of off-topic for this particular thread, but if you look at the gaggle of cameras covering some foto-ops, you will see a few XL1's among the more traditional-looking Porta Brace-clad news cams. Maybe these are owned by the "poor" networks.
:-D

But I do know the Panasonic DVCAM rigs are gaining popularity in the broadcast field.
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Old October 23rd, 2001, 11:04 AM   #10
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Country boy? From Westport? Home of Martha Stewart and Paul Newman. Don't make me laugh. You are living with ultra rich white republican suburbanites who are so far out of touch. Make that "country club boy". Explains a lot about your unenlightened political views.

Of course I'm excluding my friends who work at the excellent National Video Westport facility...
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Old October 23rd, 2001, 12:13 PM   #11
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Typical left wing diatribe...and more namecalling, plus hilariously wrong! I don't know where to begin helping you with your anger issues, but here goes:

If either Martha Stewart OR Paul Newman ever catches you accusing them of being a wascally wepublican you will forever be banished from their sight! Martha hosted a HUGE fundraiser for Boy Klinton; and Newman, bless his liberal heart, is no more a repubby than you are! Or the rest of the show-biz crew for that matter!

Who is out of touch? Your stereotype-mongering indicates that you have never hung out with the abundant limousine liberals of lower Fairfield county, although it seems you would get along with them quite well--as long as you brought with you a sizable cheque for the DNC! So far, you are 100% fact-free! :-) In fact, I think you are full of Barbra Streisand! LOL!

BTW, if you actually read what I wrote, you would realize that I never said I LIVE in Wpt! And unlike you, I don't spew venom for those who might be more wealthy than me (although I certainly don't think they are any better than me). But hey, believe what you want. Now if you'll excuse me, there are a couple of Mercedes Marxists (or LandRover Leftists) I have to talk to. :-)

Reply if you have anything intelligent to add. That does not include class warfare, race-baiting or anything else unproductive.

See y'all later.
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Old October 23rd, 2001, 01:43 PM   #12
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Someone is wrapped way too tight. Mike, I was only kidding about that stuff. Westport is a great town and it may surprise you to learn that John McCain is my favorite politician. Now let's talk about something really meaningful like is DVCAM better than DVCpro?
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Old October 23rd, 2001, 05:51 PM   #13
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Which are you leaning toward--since the XL1 will accept neither format, are you thinking about abandoning the use of the XL1?
I for one can see little benefit to justify going away from that camera (although I still have issues with the ergonomics, I like the old over-the-shoulder ENG form factor) and longer tape length isn't gonna do it for me--maybe on a desktop VTR but not in the cam fro the work I do.

Glad you were kidding Chris, you should see what I get from those who do take this stuff and themselves seriously ( ike the aforementioned showbiz types). But in general I do think teevee is a suboptimal way for people to get their news, although as ABC would brag, that's how most people do.

Gotta go, Martha's giving a quiche-decorating class.
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