For The Love of Steve: Health Beat!

Mr. A and I have a bet going. Not really a bet. More like a prediction game. A depressing one. A depressing prediction game that’s also kind of a drinking game, except that we can’t do it for more than one newscast or we’ll go blind.

Game goes like this. Is tonight’s HEALTHBEAT or YOUR HEALTH or whatever asinine “medical” segment the affiliate comes up with going to be about a) liposuction b) fad diets or c) erectile dysfunction, or will they pull a wild card and go with a breast enlargement story just so they can say the word BREAST on TV in that ponderous Anchorman voice?

Seriously, try it with your local news sometime. It’s instructive. Tonight we both lost, because the story was abouthow to get really awesome eyelashes:

The real thing is hard to beat. But now there may be a way to get lashes to grow on their own, no matter what your age.

Never mind the fact that eyelashes have a real purpose – to protect the eye from dust and other foreign particles. Eyelashes, for many people, are also a symbol of beauty. But as we age, eyelashes seem to grow scarce.

So it’s no wonder women are now batting their eyes at an anti-glaucoma medication with the unusual side effect of making lashes grow. But, how safe is it?

Apparently it’s not so unsafe that the TV station felt uncomfortable appending the contact info for a doctor who will give it to you, as well as the manufacturer’s web site, at the end of the “health” story.

I mean, I’m sorry, I know I’m supposed to be off killing journalism with my lack of attribution and my shaky ethical standards and all, but either we are radically redefining what “health” means to include cosmetics or there really is a problem in the world in that while millions are dying of AIDS, millions are also suffering from stubby, pale eyelashes.


9 thoughts on “For The Love of Steve: Health Beat!

  1. I thought of you today, A: at work someone circulated a sweeps week DANGER! story from one of the local tv channels. Apparently pancake mix can, and likely will, kill us all.

  2. Jesus. Pancake mix? I have some in my cupboard right now! Did the story recommend a course of action to deal with this menace? Do I need to burn it? Pour it down the drainpipe? Mix it up into pancakes and stuff them down the garbage disposal? WHAT DO I DO EVENING NEWS???

  3. This is old, but I blogged about these two headlines, side by side on the CBC News website:
    Even a little caffeine linked to underweight baby, study finds
    Too much weight in pregnancy nearly doubles risk of heavy baby: study

  4. It’s amazing how any story, however farfetched, containing the words “Satanic Cult” make it to the top of the local news.

  5. One of the few really great episodes of South Park was the “school newscast” story. The boys’ news program has to compete with “Cute Animals Close Up in a Fisheye Lens” for viewers. They go through the list, “What makes people watch TV?”
    Celebrities! We’ll do stories about celebrities. (But no celebrities live around here. That’s OK, we’ll just make them up.)
    Cute girls! We’ll do a whole series of interviews with the cheerleaders.
    Oh! We should make it sound like people are going to DIE if they don’t watch the newscast…
    Really, really spot on, that one.

  6. A popular soft drink will kill you! We’ll tell you which one after sports with Rusty Steel and weather with Sunny Storm!
    -Kent Brockman
    One of the things that they do in the PR biz is work backward like the South Park kids. You KNOW that YOUR anti-glaucoma medicine is just as likely to be sold to the doctor as your competitor’s, but yours has a “positive” side effect. SELL THE SIDE EFFECT!
    How can we sell it? How is it attached to something people want? How can it be attached to something celebrity or sexy or about SEX? Can we sell sex pills for men to women? Double the sales if we can!
    What if there is a problem that is solved that people don’t realize they have? Make up a syndrome and sell that sucker!
    Stuff like this makes me remember the line from Bill Hicks.
    “If you are in marketing, kill yourself now.”

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