When a home town resident makes the national news, like on TV or in the major newspapers, most people sit up and say “Wow, he/she is from where I live”. I suspect our subconscious also thinks, “next time it could be me”.
This may not be the distinction we think it is. Making the news is not only about having our name mentioned in an article, sometimes the news is constructed with public interest in mind and our names are just props to add a dimension of realism to the “news”.
For example, consider these three news reports from today.
XL pipeline. The GOP has been saying for weeks that one of its first pieces of business in the 114th Congress would be to pass a XL pipeline piece of legislation. The GOP claims that if the President vetoes the bill it will be clear who is responsible for a non-productive Congress. This week the White House weighed in with the statement that the President would indeed veto a XL bill if it was passed before the State Department completed its review.
The news media could be clear that the XL pipeline is a “nothing” issue. They could point out that it will make no difference if the Pipeline is built or if it is not. The pipeline won’t create in total jobs nor will it cause environmental catastrophes. (or they could publish the data that refutes this “nothing” claim.) But you would never realize data existed from reading or listening to the news. The news business is, instead, hyping this probable veto as a declared war between the White House and Congress. OMG.
It is far more probable that the XL is just a pawn. The President will hold it hostage until there is something (in his opinion) worth trading for in return for XL’s passage. This prediction, however, is not as newsworthy as a fight. Hmmm.
Charlie Hebdo. This morning (6 hours later) the news media is abuzz with reports of the alleged terrorist shooting at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical magazine. The news, of course, is that the shooting took place, that many innocent people were killed, and that it took place in an area near the American Embassy in Paris. But that does not take much time to share.
Making the news has already taken over. The media is reporting how ISIS is behind this attack and that other major cities around the world are on high alert for similar attacks. One reported asked the White House spokesperson whether the TSA would tighten its airport security procedures is response. Hmmm.
Clearly the shooting must be thoroughly investigated and those responsible identified. Clearly in the process of the investigation the scope of the conspiracy will be determined and it might be ISIS. It is even more probable it will not be directly connected to ISIS but rather to groups espousing the same or similar ideology. But waiting isn’t as flashy as asserting right now. If news organization were to act prudently, the 24/7 listeners would move their attention on to something else.
Falling Oil Prices. Yesterday the stock market fell for the third straight day. News reports lamented claiming investors had lost confidence and fear was taking over the markets because oil was now $50 a barrel. “Investors are worried” market reports spouted. “Their will be consequences to this sudden drop of oil price and we do not know what they all will be”, the “news” deliverers said.
Try for a moment to remember only a few years back when the only direction oil prices went was up. The same prognosticators cried then that rising oil (and gasoline) prices would strangle the economy. Woe is me.
Of course there will be consequence to such a precipitous drop in oil price. Some producing countries will see the major part of their economy disappear. The entire oil exploration sector will take a holiday until supply and demand begin to catch up. Isn’t that how capitalism is suppose to work?
A far more likely explanation for the stock market drop is the hidden market makers churning the relatively high stock valuations (of all sorts of businesses) to make money while the market drops and then buy back and make money while the market rises.
Hmmm. Who wants to report that? Fear and doom make much better news.