Surprise, surprise

Was anyone really surprised when the bigfoot on ice in Georgia turned out to be a fake?  Unfortunately, the answer is, probably.  It is important to remember that there are lots of people out there who are so bored with life that they encourage the fantastic and unrealistic. 

Groups in Texas (sigh), Hawaii, and the Dakotas are currently wasting their time and energy trying to form independent governments.  Daily we hear about cult religions with kooky beliefs that somehow have hundreds of adherents.  A large number of people in Iceland actually believe in gnomes and elves.  Huge numbers of nuts get together to fantasize about being taken by aliens.  No, it’s no surprise that people want to believe in bigfoot.

The saddest aspect of all of this was the performance of the media.   They reported this story with an almost giddy excitement that was tempered only slightly by feigned professional objectivity.  Would it have been more prudent to sit on the story and wait for the examination?  Probably, but this is not that realistic.  It would have been better if the reporters who wrote the original stories had taken the time to do a little investigation on their own.  Unfortunately, they broke the story, and then were approached by owners of costume shops who verified that it looked just like one of their costumes.

The evolution of the media in recent years is more and more troubling.  Two disturbing aspects have become more and more prominent.  First, stories that used to be tabloid, and reserved for publications like The Weekly World News have found their way into the mainstream media.  People are attracted to the sensational, and tabloid stories are almost always sensational.  Reporting these types of stories will get more people to watch your news program or bring more people to your news website.  This increases rating, and ratings mean revenue. 

Forget about journalistic integrity, because that is the other reason.  There is none.  Which brings me to another troubling change in the media over recent years.  This is the fact that the media is becoming more and more partisan.  Up until a couple of decades ago, most of the serious media outlets at least paid lip service to a goal of unbiased reporting.  However, with the emergence of Foxnews (who admittedly shows both sides with a conservative bent), most major television news sources have become unabashedly biased in their attitudes.  They increasingly become more editorial in their reporting to the point that some (see NBC) seem to be sitting-in on party strategy meetings and being given their marching orders by political parties.

Being a conservative, I am more sensitive to this on television news reports that have embraced the ideas of the left.  This includes NBC, CBS and CNN (Like everyone else, I don’t even pay attention to CNBC and MSNBC).  I guess it takes a lot of bias to balance out Foxnews.