Tag Archives: facts

The Media Circus and the Bandwagon

The media is a powerful tool (whether internet, print or radio) and how a story or event is portrayed can sway popular opinion, raise hopes or fears. There also seems to be two types of news: there is the news that reports an event that has just happened, and there is investigative reporting, which involves giving backgrounds and both sides (sometimes) into current events. Of course some investigative reporting also takes noncurrent events and makes them current by revealing what has been going on behind the backs of the public.

Reporting is supposed to be unbiased but as we know the range is vast. The best news presents only the facts but that’s rare these days, and even those facts and events are embellished with adjectives and descriptions that can color the story. The worst news reportage is given to hypberbole and innuendo or even outright conjecture and sensationalism.

But media in general, to draw audiences and increase sales, must report current and hot topics, sometimes over and over and over again, ad nauseum. This mindless media bandwagon is like the chatter of an excited child who has noticed a bright balloon. They forget to ask other questions or point out more than the obvious. For whatever reason, the media might latch on to a certain topic and deem it newsworthy, and flog that horse till everyone whether they wnant to or not Here are a few examples.

H1N1, also called Swine Flu. The vaccine is out, the vaccine is out, British Columbians are rolling up their sleeves, health authorities ask the public to be patient, many British Columbians have been waiting. Have they? How does the media know? Have they done surveys or is that just hyperbole? So here we are told over and over again about the vaccine, about the flu, about the number who have been hospitalized or died in BC.

Here is what we aren’t told and which I’ve had to dig out on my own. What’s a pandemic? It’s a case of a particular strain of disease that is infectious and shows up in different regions (global). There are different levels of pandemic. The Spanish flu (a strain of H1N1 coincidentally) of 1918, estimated to have infected a third of the world’s population killed between 50-100 million people and was a stage 5 flu pandemic. It was one of the most deadly flus in the last hundred years.

The WHO says a flu is pandemic when these conditions are met:

  • emergence of a disease new to a population;
  • agents infect humans, causing serious illness; and
  • agents spread easily and sustainably among humans
  • Flus recur often and flu pandemics (AIDS is also considered a pandemic) at least three times a century. The media has been hyping the shots and the spread of the flu but not putting it into context with what a pandemic is or how severe it is. At this point, it’s still not that severe but it has been classed a stage (or level) 6, which indicates spread not virulence. More people die every year from a regular flu than have died yet from this strain. However, what they also don’t say is that because it is of the same type (but not the same) that caused the Spanish flu they are worried that it could be as deadly. Avian flu was more virulent than the current flu but didn’t spread as quickly.

    The media needs to do a better job of presenting facts without increasing fear. By only reporting over and over again about the flu and vaccines makes it sound very deadly. And though it is to some people and there are risk groups, that is no different from the yearly flus that can kill 500,000. So what are the facts in perspective, instead of the facts segregated out for greater effect and emotion?

    Then we have the Olympic bandwagon. Over the past several years we’ve been presented with several perspectives. The cost of the Olympics, how much the province, the city and the federal government were going to put in was mentioned first. As projects and venues were completed, these things were reported of course. The lighting of the torch is now in the news.

    Also in the news is the fact that the city and the province are fighting huge deficits. The provincial government wants to bring in a tax (after the Olympics of course) that will ding everyone into paying more for things that weren’t previously taxed. Jobs are being cut by the city and province. Oh and somehow the Liberal government has prebought enough tickets to Olympic venues to equal a cool million bucks.

    It should be up to the media to now present a picture of what we were told and promised at the beginning and what we’re getting in retrospect. But I think I can figure that out. We were given wishful thinking and lies so that some people would naively believe that the Olympics wouldn’t be over budget and that we wouldn’t be paying higher taxes to cover it. But really, I’m as bad as the media (though I’m not being paid) because I base my beliefs on conjecture and what I can remember. But perhaps we’ll see some good investigative reporting on this before the Olympics begins though it’s more likely to happen after the close of the event.

    And of course, media can be influenced by and even muzzled by politics. And politics plays in anything that a government is involved in.

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    The Disturbing Trend of Sexifying Children

    beauty pageant, toddlers, sexism, oversexualization,

    Toddlers in Tiaras is the worst offender of sexualizing children. Taking it to the absolute extreme of horrible in this picture. From Toddlers in Tiaras

    There has been a disturbing trend for quite some time of demented mothers taking their children (usually girls but not exclusively) and turning them into little sex dolls. The places where they parade their sex doll children are called beauty pageants. It’s pretty obvious how I already feel about beauty pageants and the objectification of women, but to do it to a child is really criminal.

    JonBenet Ramsey may have been the most famous case. The 6-year-old beauty pageant queen (yes, queen) was murdered in 1996 and her murderer never found. The murder did bring a spotlight to the twisted world of children’s beauty pageants and the momzillas that subject their children to them.

    On the whole, judging someone on beauty alone is vain and sets up a precedent in this world that that’s all it takes: beauty. And once you grow too old or too shriveled, you’re useless. Talent and intelligence and skill are much better tests of a person than just what genes they were blessed with. Obviously, looks can get you places but the unfairness this sets up for people with true skills and talent is already a twisting of our morals.

    If I eliminate the beauty pageants for kids that treat them at least as kids, beautiful kids, then that still leaves plenty of room for the freak show beauty pageants, called glitz and glamor and now championed by TLC’s show, Toddlers and Tiaras. We already have the overperpetuated princess imagery that Disney should be smacked across the face for overdoing. Sure, little girls dream of being princesses, a bit. I did and I read fairy tales but I certainly didn’t think it was reality, even as a child, nor did I want to be one 24/7. I also wanted to be a fireman, doctor and artist.

    Does she look like a doll or a creepy sex baby?

    Does she look like a doll or a creepy sex baby?

    So here we have the famous case of JonBenet and the sick pageants that make little girls into miniature sex kittens. It’s not just that the dresses are sparkly and frilly–what little girl doesn’t like that–it’s that these dresses are off the shoulder and backless. Other children might be dressed up as Vegas show girls. On top these kids have eyeshadow, foundation, lipstick and false eyelashes adhered to their poor little faces. Plus they wear giganto hairpieces, and spraypainted tans, and false teeth (called flippers) to improve their bite. View a few YouTubes and these “smiling” (I use the term loosely as they look like they’re grimacing) children appear as hungry, young vampires.

    The only thing these pageants haven’t done yet is put fake boobs on these kids and they’d probably get arrested for that. Oops, I’m wrong. Look at the picture above; not yet implants but can that be far behind? I can’t help but shudder thinking of all the pedophiles out there drooling over these children being trained to be sexy by the age of six. Creepy doesn’t even encompass what I feel about these people using their children. At the best, they’re treating them like dolls. At the worst, like miniature sex toys when all these kids should be treated as is children. Seeing one clip, the little girl who won the competition (not as sexed up as the others, thankfully) cries and says she won the money back. Probably mommy let her know that it was costing them a big bundle ($900) and that she better do the best she can.

    I got on this tangent of the creepsville beauty pageants because a friend posted a YouTube video to her Facebook. It was of a bunch of little girls reenacting Britney Spears’ Toxic video. It seems a little girl won a contest (in South America I think) and her wish was to do the video. It’s well done and replicates everything, with children instead of adults, and that the kisses are on the foreheads of the boys, not on the lips. But it’s way creepy. And you can’t see it anymore because it’s been pulled for copyright violation. It was disturbing though.

    I can’t help but wonder about a society that sells sex so much that little girls are more interested in being sexy mini lolitas than in being kids. And that their moms are encouraging such behavior. I’m all for open, sexual thinking, and being sexy, but that should be what adults do, where they can form their own opinions. Children should be left to grow and experience their innocence and just be kids. We frown on child exploitation in other countries, and we should here as well.

    For a book of creepiness, here’s more on the subject: http://lamblegs.wordpress.com/2010/06/08/wrong-wrong-wrong-susan-anderson/

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