4. TV News Dumbed Down for American Viewers
A 2009 survey by the European Journal of Communication compared the U.S. to Denmark, Finland, and the UK in the awareness and reporting of domestic vs. international news, and of ‘hard’ news (politics, public administration, the economy, science, technology) vs. ‘soft’ news (celebrities, human interest, sport and entertainment). The results:
— Americans [are] especially uninformed about international public affairs.
— American respondents also underperformed in relation to domestic-related hard news stories.
— American television reports much less international news than Finnish, Danish and British television;
— American television network newscasts also report much less hard news than Finnish and Danish television.
Surprisingly, the report states that “our sample of American newspapers was more oriented towards hard news than their counterparts in the European countries.” Too bad Americans are reading less newspapers.
5. News Execs among White Male Boomers Who Owe Trillions to Society
The hype about the “self-made man” is fantasy. In the early 1970s, we privileged white males were spirited out of college to waiting jobs in management and finance, technology was inventing new ways for us to make money, tax rates were about to tumble, and visions of bonuses and capital gains danced in our heads.
While we were in school the Defense Department had been preparing the Internet for Microsoft and Apple, the National Science Foundation was funding the Digital Library Initiative research that would be adopted as the Google model, and the National Institute of Health was doing the early laboratory testing for companies like Merck and Pfizer. Government research labs and public universities trained thousands of chemists, physicists, chip designers, programmers, engineers, production line workers, market analysts, testers, troubleshooters, etc., etc.
All we created on our own was a disdainful attitude, like that of Steve Jobs: “We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”
Indeed, a University of Maryland study strongly suggests just how programmatic such abuse is. Those posting with female usernames, researchers were shocked to discover, received 25 times as many malicious messages as those whose designations were masculine or ambiguous. The findings were so alarming that the authors advised parents to instruct their daughters to use sex-neutral monikers online. “Kids can still exercise plenty of creativity and self-expression without divulging their gender,” a well-meaning professor said, effectively accepting that young girls must hide who they are to participate in digital life.
Over the last few months, a number of black women with substantial social media presences conducted an informal experiment of their own. Fed up with the fire hose of animosity aimed at them, Jamie Nesbitt Golden and others adopted masculine Twitter avatars. Golden replaced her photo with that of a hip, bearded, young white man, though she kept her bio and continued to communicate in her own voice. “The number of snarky, condescending tweets dropped off considerably, and discussions on race and gender were less volatile,” Golden wrote, marveling at how simply changing a photo transformed reactions to her. “Once I went back to Black, it was back to business as usual.”
When East Chicago Central High School football captain and class President Keon Kendall Brown heard an alarming crash just outside his house, the first thing he did was grab his brother and sister and lead them to safety. Keon had volunteered to watch over his siblings, as his mother had been flown to Indianapolis because of complications with a pregnancy.
“My first instinct was to make sure my brother and sister were safe,” Keon said. “When I took them outside, I realized that crash I heard was a car that drove into our home.”
Once Keon took his siblings across the street, he ran back to the car because he noticed a young boy screaming and flailing in the backseat. Keon and his neighbor pulled him to safety.
Shortly before the Eagles sent Jackson packing, NJ.com published a report entitled, “DeSean Jackson’s gang connections troubling to Eagles.” Citing LAPD sources (as if they are objective and without consideration of bias), and fears resulting from the Aaron Hernandez case, Jackson was seen as a liability because of his “gang ties”. “Ever since New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was arrested and charged with first-degree murder last summer, NFL franchises have been reevaluating how closely they needed to watch their players away from the field,” wrote Eliot Shorr-Parks & A.J. Perez in the NJ.com piece. “And what Eagles executives saw in Jackson, a six-year veteran, was apparently a potential blight on the brand and a bad influence in the locker room.”
Never mind the fact that Hernandez’s arrest (paging, due process) is irrelevant, Hernandez’s purported gang ties have been a media creation. Forgot the fact that there has been “no proof Hernandez was in a gang,” ignore the fact “there’s no proof of an NFL gang culture,” it continues to be used as justification for fears about Jackson despite the lack of proof that he has any connection to gangs or criminal activity.
Without actual evidence, the NJ.com indicts Jackson because he is a known friend of known gang members who are known to have allegedly done bad things. Yes, DeSean Jackson’s crime is he befriends people who may or may not be in gangs, who may or may not have committed crimes.