Oooooh, my first post of the year.
It's a blank canvas on which I can spew my idiocy, vitriol, and small-mindedness. Mmmmm, small-mindedness.
Today I'm going to bitch about the media. Seems like a good way to ring in the new year. Ring a ding ding.
The other day I saw an article on the front page of the local section of the San Francisco Chronicle that set me off. It was about the results of a poll regarding people's view of the economy. It stated that 52% of the polled voters are pessimistic about California's economy.
Allow me to restate the contents of that article more insightfully: Blah blah blah irrelevant space-taking, soul-sucking, resource-consuming waste of all that is good and meaningful in the universe blah blah blah.
I care about the economy, but I don't care about what random people think about the economy. How is that news? I don't care about man-on-the-street interviews, or field polls, or articles where "journalists" ask people if they prefer puppies or nuclear war.
You there, (yeah, you reading this blog), unless your last name is Bernanke, I don't care what YOU think about the economy. I don't care what my neighbor thinks about the economy. I don't care what my wife thinks about the economy. I'd like for us all to experience financial prosperity, but random opinions about economic growth are not newsworthy, interesting, or productive. They're just noise.
How about, and forgive me if I'm going out on a limb here, the "reporter" tells me some information about the economy? How about contrasting employment or housing figures from 2006 to 2007 instead of non-statistically significant opinion numbers? If, however, your article leads with the "fact" that half of the uninformed populace picked the word "bad" when describing the economy, then, maybe it's time to throw in the journalism towel. Right after one more year-end Britney Spears retrospective, of course.
The sad part of all this is that reading a newspaper is probably my preferred way to get news. Reading articles on the web is a close second, but I slightly prefer the ease of scanning a large piece of paper for items of interest.
The worst way to get news is by watching a newscast. Why do people do this? I know my eight year-old daughter likes having stories read to her, but haven't most adults grown out of that habit?
Hang on. 1963 is calling. They want their interface back.
Honestly, it's an atrociously inefficient way to receive information. If you're not interested in a story, you have to sit there patiently and wait for the next one, which will probably just be a reporter standing in a rainstorm asking people whether or not they like the weather. That will be followed a reporter standing in a mall asking shoppers what they think about the latest poll results indicating how much people love hearing about polls that asked about whether polls are more informative than puppies.
You could record the news and fast forward through these bits, but wouldn't it just be easier look at a paper or a website? Or maybe you could trim your nails by filing them down on the inside of your retina? That would be equally productive.
And, hey, happy 2008, y'all.