Shrink-wrapped opinions

Every once in a while, as I stand in some supermarket checkout line, I’ll glance at the tabloids: The National Enquirer, The Weekly World News or The Star. Often, I’m satisfied to just laugh at the paper right there in the stand. Sometimes, the headlines catch my curiosity enough that I’ll actually purchase the rag and take it home for a few laughs. While there may be some that consider these papers to be the only true news, most (myself included) think of them as comic distractions. Every week it’s some new sensational headline about Elvis, aliens, governments, Nostradamus, the end of the world and Jesus. Sometimes, the headline manages to contain all of these things at the same time. Whatever can be said about the tabloids, no one can deny that the reporting style is designed to wow you into buying their paper.

Apparently threatened by the tabloids, news agencies have decided to fight sensationalism with even more sensationalism. News items are now events complete with their own theme song and flying logos. Gone are the days of facts laid out to dispel rumors and misunderstanding. These days, human-interest pieces masquerade as information while misdirection and showmanship are what keeps viewers from changing the channel.

It used to be that you could turn to the media, find facts and establish an informed opinion all by yourself. These days, opinions are shrink-wrapped, sponsored and force-fed to the public at large. The sad part is that most are happy to consume the party line and regurgitate it whenever the opportunity comes around. News is now massaged and marketed for optimal response—a ‘message’ to be adopted and evangelized.

In the Dark Ages, the church managed to control the masses by restricting access to their source material. The “Word of God” was doled out in carefully prepared sermons designed to emphasize the church’s intent. Without access to the source material, commoners simply had to take the church’s opinions as fact. Today’s new temple is the media and its emissaries are putting more and more distance between end product and truth.

When I look at the tabloids, I sometimes wonder if they really believe they're fooling anyone. Of course, when journalistic integrity now means opinion delivered as fact, the trick is going to be finding that needle of truth in the editorial haystack. If perception is reality, we should soon be seeing branded disasters or sponsored coverage … oh wait

Comments

  1. Nob, what a great surprise to discover this dimension in you---the written one, that is---keep 'em coming.

    Can't promise I'll read them at 2:51am everynight, but stumbled on this and glad I did.

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  2. My man Gekko!!!
    So good to have found you once again. I see that you have taken the proverbial Road of Life and formed a family unit...may they inherit your sense of humor and kind heart and not pick up your unattractive traits (whatever they may be).

    Britta and I are doing fine. I don't know your email address so I'm putting my comments in your BLOG site. We still live in Chattanooga, TN (for nearly 9 years now) and love it here.

    I see you moved from California to Colorado...do tell about the transition and what brought you east.

    I'd be interested in knowing what you're doing now to keep yourself busy (other than taking car seats to the mini-van and looking for your pants).

    Drop me a note sometime, or call me in my office. edandbritta@bellsouth.net 423-822-5036

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  3. Nice blog Saliba

    ReplyDelete

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