I'm trying to read the news this morning, admittedly after a rough night where I slept little and worried alot about the usuals: money, work, money. It's making me so cranky, I have to share.
MSM sucks. The newspapers. The online news aggregators. They are reactive, superficial, meme-distributing, lazy, pompous, water-carriers for the normative. Here's a clue, reporter/editor/smartass columnist: YOU ARE NOT MY DADDY. I don't need you to make me feel better or pat me on the head or interpret the news for me. How about some facts? A little research? How about some quotes from something besides the same press releases that every media outlet in the country got? How about not letting sources feed you the same bullshit that you then spew all over my news like it came down from the heavens? Look, dude, I can access documents, definitions, medical abstracts, subject histories, alternative viewpoints and anything else myself, all while not wearing pants ... What are you offering me?
There are some journalists who are actually looking a little deeper, being a little thoughtful in their presentation of the facts and I want to commend them for holding firm against the tide of "don't research, repeat!" hacks.
Two cases in point and then I will foam elsewhere...
1. The bird flu. How many of the typical, knee-jerk "there, there don't panic all you silly little twits" pieces have you seen lately? Thanks! I feel so much better. I guess I shouldn't worry . My goverment is on the case. And that's what government officials do. They always stop threats before they are realized. Thank gawd you aren't hyping this threat the way you did a REAL one like West Nile virus.
How about all these stories referring to Tamiflu "an effective drug against flu" as a one-line fact? Here's a more realistic look (San Francisco Chronicle , 10.13.2005)
Tamiflu has not been effective in the treatment of the small number of people who've contracted the H5N1 virus in Asia. Of 116 people infected since 2003, half have died. However, most of those patients were admitted to hospitals days or weeks after they became ill. Tamiflu is thought to work best within 36 hours of symptoms.
"Late treatment is clearly ineffective,'' said Dr. Frederick Hayden, a University of Virginia expert on flu drugs.
As a treatment for ordinary flu, Tamiflu has been effective, but in a Japanese study of children treated with the drug, about 1 in 6 patients developed strains of flu resistant to the drug, though the new flu strains were much weaker, causing less illness.
And it gets better:
Although Roche has increased production of Tamiflu eightfold in the past two years, it will take $16 billion and 10 years to make enough of the drug for 20 percent of the world's population, said Klaus Stohr, director of the World Health Organization's Global Influenza Program, in comments to reporters in San Francisco last week.
But you can get it online! Buy now! And, gosh, it only took a little arm-twisting and, gawd knows what concessions to Roche, for that bastion of pharmacological ethics and morality to agree to allow generic licensing.
Yes, there are some studies (for example, this one) that show Oseltamivir is effective against known flu strains. However, more recent information, including an actual case of H5N1 human infection in a girl in Vietnam indicates this strain of the virus may be resistant. (Reprinted here from Nature magazine. I couldn't access the abstract, the story or the PDF at the Nature site. Must be a technical glitch.)
I'm not saying Tamiflu is useless. I'm not suggesting news writers scream "fire" in a crowded theater. But baldly stating that Tamiflu is an "effective treatment" for the H5N1 flu is, at best, misleading. Tamiflu ranks so low in comparison to a vaccine in terms of controlling a pandemic that it hardly registers.
And this is just ONE aspect of the story that MSM is getting wrong, or at least shading incorrectly. And they wonder why we don't find them entirely credible.
2. The Vitale murder. Why we care about this on a national level is beyond me. (as in BREAKING NEWS!!!!! on CNN) I guess because this woman was married to someone important (he was on TV!!!!!), had money, lives in a big ol' house and hell, looks like Wilma isn't even gonna blow down trees in Florida, darn it. BUT WAIT!!!
OMIGAWD her killer was a GOTH!!!!! he dressed in black!!!! Parents everywhere, BEWARE!!!!!! Everyone know that if your kid has long hair, doesn't fit in a school and wears black, he is just a murder waiting to happen. In fact, I think dark clothes, studded belts and anything with a skull and crossbones should be BANNED. All his fellow students (he didn't have many friends) said that he was a loner and wore BLACK!!!! (Wait, could social isolation be more of a warning sign than the black clothes? Oh pshaw, what am I saying??!) He worshipped Satan and once drew a PENTAGRAM!!!!! (Well, some kids said so anyway.) Drawing a pentagram one time (hearsay) makes him a murdering Satanist but the fact that a CROSS was carved on the victim's back, does not make him a murdering Christian. Please. Christianity does not support the killing of others. I think all Goths have to swear that they do. I'm pretty sure. A kid told me.
Then, later - and i mean WAAAAAAY later - in one story, investigators say they suspect a drug scheme involving a marijaua-growing operation, stolen credit cards and missing equipment was involved. oh. well. criminal behavior. Hmmm. Well, drug dealing and theft are the FIRST results of being GOTH, as you well know. Murder comes later, in most cases, right? And I think Satanism requires credit card theft. It's like a commandment or something, right? Let's ask someone who is a practicing Satanist what their book says. Oh, we don't know any? Well there's Satanism 101 put up by the Church of Satan. Oh, but these guys don't really seem like the Hollywood version of demon worshippers. One of their 11 rules is not harming children. Wow. This is proving nettlesome. Let's just gloss over it then. HE WAS GOTH!!!!
Of course, family members can't believe this kid was involved (but then, they let him wear BLACK!!!!! who would believe them?! Besides, his parents are DIVORCED. You heard it here first. This phrase will be trotted out in story after story: "whose parents are divorced." As it should be, because there are hundreds of long-term, scientifically accepted studies that show that children of divorced parents are more likely to become drug-dealing killers who wear black. (OK, well, there aren't any truly scientific studies at all, but we don't need SCIENCE. We're no barrel of monkeys. we know the TRUTH.)
There's not much information on the killing at this point, really, but who needs research and facts?? In fact, who needs a trial?!!! The LONER always did it. Besides that's what the cops think, and they are never wrong.
Yea for stereotyping! Yea for equating pentagrams with Satanism! Yea for upholding family values! Yea for the effortless perpetuation of false memes! It's so EASY to be a reporter when the story practically writes itself!