Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Zombie Coal Miners

I haven't written a word on this blog since November 17, 2005, and that was just to say that I wouldn't be writing for a while. My life is no less crazed and over committed, but nothing moves me quite like an opportunity to lambast the national media.

Yesterday as I heard endless stories about the trapped coal miners in West Virginia I experienced a terrible sense of deja vu. I have that feeling every time the media turns a local story into a national one.

Why do they do it? Why is a missing child in South Dakota a news story in Florida, Iowa and California too? Why do we know about nutty runaway brides or people who have 16 kids? The answer is quite simple. The corporate media is only interested in advancing corporate interests. Distracting us with bread and circuses makes it all the easier for them. They may tell us something useful every now and then, but that isn't their mission any more.

They won't tell us that the president is wired during a debate, or that he has illegally spied on American citizens, and that they knew before November 2004 and shut up to help keep him in office. Yes, all that applies to the New York Times.

Today the Times hedged, a little, but not enough. Their version of bad reporting was "12 Miners Found Alive, Family Members Say." They were a tiny bit better than the New York Post and Daily News. Their headlines screamed, ALIVE!, MIRACLE! Perhaps tomorrow they will say OOPS! or IS OUR FACE RED!.

Not only do the corporate media act only to protect the interests of the powerful, but now they don't even know fact checking 101 or any other reporting basics. Keep that in mind the next time you complain about the press. Remind yourself that they just don't know how to report any more, about miners or anything else for that matter.

They can make up for this stunning incompetence by telling us about work place safety. Oh, wait a minute. I started dreaming again. Sorry.

So, I'm back. All I needed was a little outrage.