Local Journalism

Whenever someone’s shrieking about SAVE LOCAL JOURNALISM I think of things like this, wherein apparently nobody could Google anything [loud annoying autoplay live feed at link because no journalist has ever considered UX in any way at all]: 

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A peaceful protest against human trafficking in Grand Rapids brought a frequently forgotten criminal business to the forefront.

Wherever there are people, there is the potential for human trafficking, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The department says thousands of cases are reported every year, though many cases go unnoticed.

It’s a cause that compelled the folks along Monroe Avenue to make a stand.

“I’m really impressed with all the people out here,” said Kim Mol of Hudsonville. “They are for save the children!”

This is, of course, that horrible Q bullshit, and the protesters aren’t exactly trying to hide it. They’re counting on exactly this kind of credulous coverage because who, I ask you, could be against awareness of child trafficking? Who the hell doesn’t want to save the children?

(Awareness campaigns generally make me itch, unless it’s something we’re truly not aware of. Buying a $700 backpack or whatever doesn’t actually cure cancer and if you’re not aware that cancer exists you’re living in a dream world. Coronavirus being a real thing could use some awareness, but that’s nothing compared to a bunch of maskless honkies screaming on the street about a nationwide conspiracy of pedophiles.)

I’m not trying to pick on this one reporter. I am saying that we have what are basically keyboard macros masquerading as news stories happening. Protesters “clash” with police. “Police-involved shooting,” that’s one I scream about whenever I see it. Something “raises questions” or “ignites a firestorm of controversy.” Politicians “trade barbs” or “exchange accusations.”

We have all these ways of backing into a story by telling you it’s the same as every other story and none of it means anything. It’s not an exaggeration to say that our inability to give up on the way we’ve always written and talked about everything, our overarching laziness, is how we got where we are.

Watching ten minutes of morning local news (as I sometimes do when trapped in a place of business that hates its customers and wants them to be miserable) is a really, really good way to figure out how people vote Republican. Let’s keep poking this one station, shall we: 

PLYMOUTH, Pa. — Black and white American flag lawn signs dot properties all over Plymouth.

If you look closely, you’ll see the signs support fire, ambulance, and police.

Harmless fun! Raises money for a local volunteer firefighting company! Literally began as a response to Black Lives Matter and is an expression of belligerent hostility co-opted by well-meaning people who just want to support their cousin who’s a cop! There are layers and layers to this and none of those layers lend themselves to the kind of story you have to do in 30 seconds between videos of pets up for adoption.

Here’s some MORE credulous coverage of crazy shit: 

Trump also said the harsh restrictions put in place for the pandemic were politically driven by the Democrats.

“They don’t want Donald Trump at the Mohegan Sun Arena with 20,000 people there,” said Frank Scavo, a long time Republican. “So they just collapse it down and say okay 25 percent, no more than 250.”

Nowhere, in the story, NOWHERE, is it mentioned that this is IMPOSSIBLE and NOT TRUE and what the fucking fuck generally. That is bugfuck crazy nutso time. That is BONKERS. On its face.

Whenever I hear about how we need to root out deliberate misinformation and Russian bot Facebook/Twitter campaigns I think about how much low-level bullshit there is in the local news we’re meant to lionize. Thinking uncritically about SAVE LOCAL NEWS means support this the same way you’d give to your local nonprofit shop, and that makes less sense than those QAnon idiots up there.

A.

2 thoughts on “Local Journalism

  1. LarrytheRed says:

    Local news should stick to NEWS, like fires and car wrecks and and which local politician just got arrested and for what, plus cutesy human interest stuff.

  2. E.A. Blair says:

    I live in Milwaukee, WI, and gave up on local news, whether in print or on TV, a long time ago. If the proverbial giant meteor showed up, local coverage would generate headlines like, “The Meteor: How Will It Affect The Packers’ Playoff Chances?”

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