Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Media Are/Is Changing--for good and bad...

It's changing.  Constantly.  Quickly.  Some change is good.  Some change is bad.  Some change is just, well….change.
Since I checked in last the media has run amok.  Joan Rivers' mouth ran amok.  AMC ratings ran amok.  The Bible ran amok.  Jon Stewart is running away.  And broadcast networks may be going away.

This may take more than one column to catch us all up.  

First let's take out the trash.  Which means a comment about Joan Rivers.  Her comments on Adele's weight may have been funny 30 years ago when Ms. Rivers was relevant.  Yes, there was a time she was relevant.  She did an excellent job subbing for Johnny Carson.  Somehow, subbing for Johnny has made her an expert on clothing and weight.  (The link here contains strong language, all directed at Joan Rivers.)

Joan is far from the only contributor to the problem of eating disorders.  Just as culpable are the stories of miraculous weight loss.  Snooki, whose sole contribution to society has yet to be determined, lost 42 pounds not too long ago. We know this because of a story about her miraculous weight loss.  

And by publicizing this story and all stories about actresses that gave birth, had a nanny raise their kid and lost a bunch of weight, the message is reinforced: Lose weight or women who had criminally negligent plastic surgery will criticize you.  Or far worse and more seriously, some women and men may see themselves as less worthy and develop an eating disorder.  

Another bad change:  Talk of the Nation (TOTN) on NPR is going away.  TOTN offered daily in depth discussions on a range of issues from the immediately relevant to the humorously trivial.  NPR is canceling the show this summer. Is canceling TOTN another episode of broadcasters giving in to our increasingly short attention span?  The network announced it was replacing the show with more magazine style news programming.  

The result of this cancellation and presumably the cancellation of Science Friday, is I will be less informed about a range of topics.  I may know about stuff, but the depth of that knowledge will be truncated.  Yes, I can research on my own.  But I loved the way NPR did the research for me and presented it fairly, professionally and with a hint of perspective.  I am sorry for our shorter attention spans.  I am sure I am guilty also.  Must we all suffer for it and have the trait reinforced by broadcasters?  

We will miss Neil Conan, host of TOTN and Ira Flatow, host of Science Friday.  I thank them for making me smarter and allowing me to enjoy the process.

So much to talk about.  A column ain't enough room.  Give me a few minutes and I will continue.  Not all the news is bad.  Just wait. Some of it is good and some of the news is truly neutral but still interesting...

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