And? So? What happened?
June 24, 2011 Leave a comment
One of the advantages of living in a westernised county today is that most people have access to news and salacious gossip. From the numerous 24 hour news channels, radio stations, newspapers, magazines and the wonders of the interwebs, nothing remains private and we all have the ability to develop a fair idea of what is happening to whom and where, even if we can not work out why. We are even told what to think about it if we listen to the commentators and pundits who break items down even further and then use some little facet of the story to promote their own agenda. But such is the nature of twenty four hour news is that in order to keep their viewers or readers, the story has to change. Today’s eagerly sought out and avidly read front-page story will be tomorrow’s wet fish wrapper or on its way to be re-cycled into bathroom tissue, either in a industrial process or just by being hung on the back of the door.
But just sometimes, like when the television network cancels your favourite TV show mid-season because it didn’t attract enough viewers in the 24-35 year old young Oliviatanian female demographic as promised to the advertisers, you are left in suspense as to what happened next. It was years before I discovered that Mrs Carter’s daughter (the one that everyone knew was the butchers) acknowledged her real father and became a TV news anchor, because when I was listening to my mother and her friends discussing the local events, the causes célèbres changed daily and I was too young to remember to ask “so mommy, was Mr and Mrs Carters’ marriage guidance counselling ultimately successful and did Jane discover a sense of self worth, overcome the psychological damage of having red hair when the rest of her family had black and transcend the contradiction of a vegetarian mother who liked the butcher’s sausage?” Watching the news or trying to follow a public story is like reading through a book and discovering that the final chapter is missing. And they never go back and follow up.
A while ago, Kraft-Cadbury was accused of being racist amid clamour for the company’s products to be boycotted, all because they used the slogan “move over Naomi, there is a diva in town” to advertise a chocolate bar. This became a big story, reported all across the world from New Zealand west to California. What was not reported (although one UK based newspaper did have an item buried away in the advertising columns of its media section) was the fact that the Council of the Advertising Standards Authority totally rejected that the complaints that the advertisements were ‘an insult to black women’ and concluded that there were no grounds for an investigation. Then there are the stories and reports that appear and disappear just as fast, for example, a couple of newspapers carried an item that the Sun is due to enter a period of inactivity. The last time this happened, from 1645 to 1715, was called the Maunder Minimum and is linked to the Little Ice Age in Europe. Does that mean that if we follow the advice of the global warmists we will exacerbate the effects and that the ice age facing us will be worse? The answer is probably in the missing chapter of the book or left spiked on the editors desk because they must give us more background on someone’s love child.
If your news program has followed the posse and like all of the competing stations you have devoted virtually a whole show to the fact that a daughter of some celebrity was pregnant and sent your reporter to stand outside some locked gate at 11:00 at night to say this is where the conception took place, please remember to come back to the story a few months later and tell us if it was a boy or girl, the birth weight, how long the mother was in labor and if she had an epidural. If you are going to gossip, please follow through and tell me the whole story. Just for the sake of completeness or to use that awful word, ‘closure’. At least my mother and her friends would start a conversation with “Remember I told you about Reverend Lovemuch and the sheep, well ………”
To be fair to the newspapers and reporters, there is only so much time and only so much you can cover in any news cycle. Some stations even acknowledge this: one local news program in the US gives the viewers a choice of which of three reports they want aired at the end of the show, but that just leaves those interested in the other two stories throwing their remote controls at the television and wondering about the proposal to place a tax on ‘bedroom’ activities or the sad eyed donkey found wondering the streets. Exactly the same way in which a cancelled TV show left me wondering what will happen now another planet has appeared in Earth’s orbit but I am never going to find out because the show was so bad that not even SyFy will pick it up for another season. So the five year story arc is left unfinished just after I suffered twenty two episodes of plot establishment.
Now I do understand that times change and the world moves on. Obviously if the US has just invaded Canada or if a Republican and a Democrat or a Conservative and a Labour politician both actually agreed on something, then that would be the new big news and would dominate the agenda for the next few days. But if you have just shown a video of strange unexplained contrails over Southern California, can you at least say that these were just the normal condensation trail of a commercial aircraft when they are identified a couple of days later? Otherwise everyone who didn’t bother to look it up on aviation websites would still be wondering at the back of their minds if this was yet more proof that Earth was being invaded by real furry creatures from Alpha Centuari and the conspiracy industry will be claiming the lack of follow-up as evidence that the ‘World Government’ was trying to hide the fact that it was actually in league with extra-terrestrials.
So here is a suggestion. Instead of some little seen cable channel doing a “Where are they now” program, how about as part of the normal news output, journalists actually state what happened in the end. Don’t leave us halfway through the story, for example, the Three Bears were in the middle of investigating a home invasion and discovered that a trespasser had broken into their house, vandalised the furniture, stolen their supplies and were in the middle of a potential hostage situation with a girl trapped in the bedroom on Wednesday and then on Thursday only tell us about some homicidal transvestite wolf with oversized teeth terrorising girls in red hoodies. Even fairy stories have an “and they all lived happily ever after” so why not say that the three bears underwent counselling for their shock and Goldilocks was captured and is now serving 6 years for house breaking , theft and trespass. And please don’t make me have to read a little paragraph in column eight on the bottom of page 14 or watch 44 minutes of the news at eleven telling me how the Governor was once found in bed with a donkey to find out that the ‘mysterious’ lights in the sky and loud bangs you spent 44 minutes telling me about yesterday was not an invasion but just a celebration that the local football team had actually won a match.