News can be very wrong.
Love or hate him, TRUMP has called out the media on this several times. FAKE news is very real… because it sells!
News facts aren’t always about informing the public. It’s mostly about selling product to advertisers so that they can sell product to consumers. News doesn’t have to be right to draw attention, just attractive.
On slow news days, small stories are promoted to major headlines. On busy days, big stories push much smaller ones out of the way. Some are omitted entirely.
Editing takes place to allow all the news that’s available to be able to fit into convenient time boxes. We never get to know what’s been left out or altered. If there’s more news events to fit into a timeslot / webpage / newsprint, there’s less space for details. Specifics and backstories only use up time, time that’s a saleable commodity in commercial media.
Only Good News?
Everyday a shocking news event leads our media. If there’s nothing found locally, it’s drawn from abroad. We’ve never had a nice news story start our news! There’s no ‘shock value’ in ‘nice news’. Audiences would soon disappear if good news drove the headlines.
News Facts and Context.
So we’re consumed by the tit-bits of drama, the disasters, the greed and demise of individuals, groups, companies and nations. That’s sweet but what about accuracy?
It’s one thing to stand and watch the train-wreck of life, it’s another to be told how it happened and accept it as verbatim. That’s where I have problems.
Context requires research to be done but it takes time for a writer to compile them properly. It takes a while for their readers to digest it. This is time few readers have. Writers who compile the news know that.
News facts gone wrong.
Here’s a fantastic news event I followed with intrigue. In happened in the eighties and it’s about guy, a nice fellow, who became caught in the middle of a news frenzy and then went to jail for murder. It has stuck with me ever since: A friend’s friend was guilty of bludgeoning his ex-wife to death with a baseball bat, in Logan City.
He lied to the police. That’s what’s set it all in motion.
He had a good reason to lie. He didn’t want his partner knowing he’d visited his ex-wife’s home. Before you shout: ‘That lousy two-timing dog! He deserves to go to jail and rot in hell!’, there’s an enormous difference between murder and sleeping around. One doesn’t equal the other… and we’re looking to put away a killer, not a philanderer in place of one.
Let’s find some context with the next part of my story.
What did the news facts report?
The news facts provided at the time failed to report the demands the young lady had made on ‘the guy’ about seeing his bitchy ex-wife. The two females hated each other and the current girl wanted the previous one out his life. The reports also mentioned nothing of the child in the middle of it all, a boy who sometimes had to be collected from and dropped-off at the ex-wife’s home. She had an unreliable car and couldn’t always get the kid to the designated meet-point, so he’d go there to keep the appointment.
Then there was the fingerprint found inside her home, on a light switch in the living room. It was his. This print and his statement were in direct conflict. Forty eight hours after the murder, he was reported in the news as a suspect and, after a week, he was named, charged and taken into custody. That was the last the public saw of him. For all everyone knew, a killer had been caught.
Unfortunately the reporters and the police during that first week had bumbled out their news duties. They were like two horny teenagers tugging at each other’s clothes, they couldn’t see beyond their awkward passion to get into each other’s pants and get down to business – to satisfy the community’s insatiable need to know.
Passion to report news facts fast!
When their lust was over, a caller with brand new information phoned the police. A bloody shirt was discovered in a trash can at a nearby caravan park. A bat was mentioned too but the police didn’t want to know anything of either. They had their guy and the community was sleeping peacefully. Why wake a sleeping giant?
The trial found him not guilty. He was released from police custody eighteen months later to no a world that had no job, no home and no girlfriend for him. He wasn’t guilty of murder but that’s the badge he wore anyway.
And the real killer?
In SEETHINGS you’ll find mention of how the news media manipulates its stories to meet its own end, affecting crime along the way. It leads us all the way to Kurdaitcha, the silent assassin taking lives in a storm ravaged city. The media plays a crucial part in helping our killer commit murder.