Bob Batch: It’s Not News To Me

Bob Batch

Bob Batch

Over the years the Edgewater Residential has consistently strived to serve as a community newspaper, or at least as a bulletin heralding upcoming events in town and reporting on local proceedings. Naturally, not having a staff of reporters to blanket the town in search of hot news the way professional news organizations like ‘The Insider’ and ‘Access Hollywood’ do, many of the most newsworthy and interesting stories are overlooked.

For most of you this is probably a good thing! Just imagine reporters lurking around town following up on every snippet of gossip on the grapevine and doing investigative pieces   every time something seemed suspicious to someone. Also, just to conform to current news practices, we’d feature alarming, misleading headlines prominently displayed on the front page designed to boost circulation. “Edgewater Under Siege From South American Invaders”(Those green parrots that build their nests around town).

Yes, it’s a good thing for all of us that this paper has always been a quiet little publication that tries to focus on the happier aspects of Edgewater news.

Personally, I think life would be a lot calmer for everyone if all the commercial news organizations would follow the example of The Edgewater Residential. As it is, it’s almost dangerous to your health to watch too much of the coverage of certain events on television these days if you’re slightly nervous or suffer from high blood pressure. There should probably be a warning on some of the news shows similar to the ones on a lot of movies of graphic nature.

By the way, I’m not sure I understand how they decide to rate the warnings about some material. Most of the stuff that’s rated M for mature is incredibly brainless with some sex and violence in it…but it’s not very mature! (Maybe a little like the news). I suppose film makers would howl, but the real ratings should be along the lines of Stupid, Exploitive and Crass.

At any rate, when it comes to news, any sort of news, there seems to be a legion of reporters looking under every rock for details about stories that don’t really matter much to anyone except them. At the same time a lot of these sensationalist/reporters take subjects way too seriously just because they’re assigned to them, which is to say they take themselves way too seriously. Really, how much weight and importance is there to a story about Lindsay Lohan’s latest re-hab?

Even worse than the over inflation of meaningless news is the way stories of genuine interest to the public at large are whipped into life and death dramas that have to be updated every second with speculation and interviews that don’t really add any new information to the story, but fill up a lot of time with the illusion that something important is being presented.

As an aside I should mention that it’s a sad commentary on the state of news coverage when the comedy shows that spoof news shows make more sense and have more insight about the issues.

A lot of stories are too silly for even news presenters to call in an expert to pontificate about so they resort to taking their camera out on the street and asking people walking by what they think. Somehow they always seem to find the least informed and inarticulate individuals to participate. There’s nothing more tedious than listening to some by-stander retelling a story the reporter just told you in a more confusing and distorted way. I guess reporters secretly fear that we wont believe some of these reports without an ‘eye-witness’.

But news reporters are a fickle lot. Today’s life-changing, world shattering, breaking news can become a distant memory faster than the flick of your remote control. One day they’re camping out en mass in the yard of an accused child killer hoping for any whiff of information or movement behind drawn shades, and suddenly their converging on some political candidate for an ill-chosen remark.

It all makes me nostalgic for the days when Walter Cronkite or Huntley and Brinkley read the news every evening for half an hour and managed to keep everyone adequately informed. Maybe my memory is faulty, but I don’t remember every story having such an ominous tone back then unless it was called for. There wasn’t so much opinion or a hint of disgust on the part of reporters.

In those days, when they gave their opinion, they told you it was an editorial. Remember how TV channels were required to give people time to come on and give an informed opinion on a local community issue? Some be-speckled activist would come on the screen and nervously read through a pre-prepared statement on why dogs should be kept on leashes or whatever, and the station would invite comment from credible persons. Today any such spokesperson has to argue with some smug host auditioning for a spot as network anchor every time he or she is on the screen.

I guess you could think of the Edgewater Residential as a throw-back to those days of yore, serving the community with local information in an old-fashioned way, and I’m like the guy they let come on during the wee hours when most people had fallen asleep in front of their sets rambling on about one issue or another. We welcome the responses of credible individuals by the way.

Related posts:

  1. Bob Batch: Getting the Picture
  2. Bob Batch: Back to School
  3. Bob Batch: Volunteers of America
  4. Bob Batch: Remembering Mrs. Hanusek

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