About a week ago, the Today Show was on in the background as the Shuff-haus was getting ready for the day when one of my favorite things occurred. Today aired a segment it\’s producers likely would have been deemed completely non-newsworthy if not for the sensational video they had.
The seven minute story was about jerky teen boys playing Fire in the Hole. Apparently FITH is the act of ordering a soda at the drive thru, yelling \”fire in the hole\” and then pretending your soda is a grenade and the server is Charlie peeking out of a tunnel in \’Nam. Now teenage boys being destructive and mean may happen all the time, but it becomes national news when they have videotaped their A-holishness and posted it on YouTube.
Now some TV programs, like Maximum Exposure and World\’s Wildest Police Videos, are up front about their products. They show shocking and titillating videos because they know viewers can\’t turn away. There is no moralizing or any attempt to find some deeper truth. It\’s, \”check out these awesome explosions and skateboard accidents.\” I enjoy these shows and so do you, whether you admit it or not.
But the Today Show fancies itself as being a little more high-brow than that. We\’re news, dammit! So what we got instead was a very serious Matt Lauer interviewing a FITH victim and condemning these mean teen boys. Taking a cue from a Bart\’s People segment, Lauer runs up the score by lamenting, \”here\’s a hardworking single mom just trying to earn a living\” who doesn\’t deserve this kind of abuse. Well no kidding she doesn\’t deserve it, Matt! But she\’s not on your show so you can make your bold defense of hardworking single moms. She\’s on your show so you can play over two dozen clips of drive thru workers getting humiliated with Mountain Dew facials! (I counted.)
\”Oh gosh, that\’s just terrible the way you got drenched with pop. Let\’s see that again. OK, now once more in slo-mo. Oh, that\’s just awful, this video we\’re showing over and over again that will get people buzzing and boost our ratings. Oh that\’s just awful. You didn\’t deserve that. Don\’t run that clip again. OK, maybe just once more.\”
National TV news does this kind of thing all the time. Just once I\’d like some honesty like, \”OK, here\’s what we have for you tonight. First, we have some gently-edited Obama campaign talking points. Next we have some alarmist stuff about a disease you\’ll never catch. Then we\’re going to do a story about porn later. C\’mon, you know you\’re intrigued. Stick around to see provocative clips where we\’ve fuzzed out just enough nudity so we won\’t lose our FCC license.\”
And speaking of honesty, here\’s something else I\’d like to see. I\’d like every national news broadcast to start out with the reporters and anchors announcing who they voted for in the last elections. Government officials have to release information about their business and investment dealings so the public can be assured they aren\’t doing things to line their pockets. Similar disclosure from the mainstream media would be nice so the public would be constantly reminded that decisions about what is presented as news and how that news is reported is coming from liberals.
OK, I got a little sidetracked there. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, someone needs to throw a soda at Matt Lauer.