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  • Latest media low

    I was watching the "news" a few moments ago, and the heads were talking about Trent Lotts latest apology. Video showed him coming out of a building, possibly after his interview on B.E.T. In the foreground, the camara had a slightly out of focus, large, white, top of a fence post, or shaft of some kind, and the tip of this object looked like the ace of spades on playing cards.

    Now, as Lott walked down from the entrance he passed this "object" and Lotts head and this object were side by side for a moment, and about the same size. This object looked very similar to a KKK hood. My wife thought exactly the same thing at the same moment.

    How pathetic our media sewer trash has become.

    [ 12-17-2002, 07:45 AM: Message edited by: Mike Tx ]

  • #2
    The media is directly responsible for a lot of our problems in this world, Mike. They can tell a story anyway they want to and take pictures to psychologically make people what they want to think. Not all newspapers and photographers do this, of course. But I have seen some do it. That picture was probably a picture of many taken but not missed by the editors. It was displayed to underline the papers decision that Lott is a racist.
    The media can twist things anyway they want. They can do a lot of good. But they can also do a lot of bad. I get so disgusted, I rarely watch the news or read the paper anymore.

    Comment


    • #3
      quote:
      Originally posted by Mike Tx:
      In the foreground, the camara had a slightly out of focus, large, white, top of a fence post, or shaft of some kind, and the tip of this object looked like the ace of spades on playing cards.

      Now, as Lott walked down from the entrance he passed this "object" and Lotts head and this object were side by side for a moment, and about the same size. This object looked very similar to a KKK hood.

      As a news photographer, I can pretty much guarantee you that was an accident.

      When we're sent on stakeouts (that's what they call it when we just sit and wait in the hope of getting video of someone arriving at or leaving a building), our priority is to get a good, clear shot of the subject. You often only get one chance, because the subject often moves directly from the building to a waiting vehicle and doesn't hang around for the photo op. Even if they DO hang around, you still shoot as if you're only getting the one chance, because you don't know they're going to stop for the camera until they actually do it.

      There is no leeway to try something like what you described. One of Murphy's laws of photography is that if there's an obstruction in your shot, whoever you're shooting will go stand behind it, ruining the picture. As a result, we always try to get a position on the stakeout that is free of any foreground obstructions. More than likely, when Lott moved to where the obstruction was in the shot, the photog immediately thought "Ah, crap!" and was simply relieved that he didn't stay behind it.

      To think that teevee news folks are consciously trying to manipulate the audience gives them more credit than they deserve. While personal bias creeps into stories occasionally, most of us are too overworked or just too stupid to propagandize our product the way you suggest.

      [ 12-17-2002, 04:03 PM: Message edited by: Shaky & Blue ]

      Comment


      • #4
        As a person completely sick of the media bias seen everyday, I disagree. You personally may be like you say, but it's just too coincidental in this case.

        Here's what happened, the film crew was waiting for Lott to come out, as innocently as ever. He came out, they filmed it and packed it in. Back at the station the film is reviewed, and somebody says, "Look at this....We got something to run with..."

        The media are doing as much or more harm to this country than the politicians are.

        Comment


        • #5
          quote:
          Originally posted by Mike Tx:
          Here's what happened, the film crew was waiting for Lott to come out, as innocently as ever. He came out, they filmed it and packed it in. Back at the station the film is reviewed, and somebody says, "Look at this....We got something to run with..."

          You're assuming that someone's actually paying attention to what's in the video.

          What usually happens is that the field crew brings back the video, and the reporter or producer who writes the story never even looks at it. They say, "Hey, Shaky, you got pictures of Lott, right?" The photog says, "Yep." So the producer writes the copy based on a generic picture in her mind of Lott walking out of a building.

          Once the script is finished, a videotape editor with dozens of other pieces to edit looks at the copy, sees Lott's name and goes looking for the field tape. Once it's found, the editor shuttles through the field tape frantically to find Lott's face, cues it to the beginning of the shot and starts it copying onto another tape for broadcast, only paying enough attention to it to ensure that it is, in fact, Lott, while simultaneously pulling other tapes or logging tape numbers in the computer. The editor then tosses the edited tape on a shelf in the playback room, where no one actually looks at it again until it's on the air.

          I PROMISE you that's what happened with the Lott tape. I'm certain that if you pointed out what you saw to anyone in the chain of custody of that footage, they would be genuinely surprised.

          Here's a prime example of what I'm describing. A sports crew at my last teevee station did a story on a certain college football player's speed, incorporating some video of him running sprints. They shot the video, edited it all together in a nice package and aired it. Then they got a phone call.

          The woman who called said, "Did you know you just showed a penis on the air?"

          What? The sports guys ran and grabbed the tape. Sure enough, as this guy ran, he came out of the leg of his shorts and flopped around in plain view. They were extremely embarrassed that it got past EVERYONE without ever being seen.

          Now, if people are working too quickly to pay enough attention to notice PENIS in the video, do you really think they have the time to think up political messages?

          Comment


          • #6
            As I said, they did not think it up. It was on the film, and some up and coming media person saw it and nearly fainted at the luck the befell them. I PROMISE you that is what happened.

            Lott is accussed of being a racist on every channel everyday. day and night, for the last week, and that's a coincidence? BS. If that's a coincidence maybe I'll win the lotto today.

            Comment


            • #7
              I find it hard to believe that the shot was a coincidence. Even if it was, they probably had a dozen different shots to choose from when they aired the story. Why choose that particular shot? Controversy sells.
              Two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead.

              Comment


              • #8
                quote:
                Originally posted by Chief Wiggum:
                I find it hard to believe that the shot was a coincidence. Even if it was, they probably had a dozen different shots to choose from when they aired the story. Why choose that particular shot?

                Actually, they probably didn't have a dozen shots.

                Like I wrote above, on a stakeout you usually only get one chance. It may last only 10-15 seconds. Yet, the stories are usually a minimum of 25-30 seconds. We're often using everything we have just to cover the voice track.

                You might wonder why we couldn't just use file pictures. There's a huge drive in this business to bring the latest, freshest video to air. If this was the latest video of Lott, that's the stuff we would want to use. If there's video being shot of him right now, that's the stuff we want in our next story. File video is considered unacceptable if there's new video available.

                Look, suppose an officer were to decline to answer my questions at a crime scene. If I were to just assume from his silence that the police had something to hide, maybe a mishandling of the case, you'd think I was nuts, right? You'd think, "This guy has absolutely no understanding of how an investigation works!"

                Well, I'm thinking the same thing now. There's no grand conspiracy to make Lott look bad. Mike's interpretation of the meaning of this video is simply a misunderstanding of how my business works. Back at that crime scene, if I really didn't understand anything about police investigations, and just accepted some of the negative hype as truth, such a conclusion might seem reasonable in the absence of more complete information. I'm trying my best to give you a little insight, so you don't jump to conclusions based on inaccurate perceptions.

                I will agree with Chief Wiggum that we media ghouls are attracted to controversy, and we'll flock to any perceived controversy and beat it to death, looking for any new or fresh angle we can find to keep the story alive for one more newscast. But this video is not an example of that.

                I seem to sense an overwhelming desire here to hate the media, whether that hatred is rational or not. But if you're interested in actually understanding why Lott's comments are misunderstood as racist among the media, I have a very reasonable explanation.

                When this mess first happened, the copy that went out from ONE of the wire services said:

                'Lott told the audience "we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years" if Thurmond had won his 1948 Presidential bid, when he campaigned on a platform of racial segregation.'

                Now, if that's your source of information for your newscast, how would you interpret it? Which part is background info, and which part did Lott actually say? That copy, being poorly written (by just one person somewhere, in a big hurry), is confusing. It's even more confusing when spoken, when you probably can't hear the comma separating "when he campaigned..." from the rest of the sentence.

                Many producers would read over that quickly, because they have another twenty or thirty stories to rewrite for their newscasts, and not realize they were misinterpreting it. The anchor reads it that way, others in the newsroom hear the anchor read it and understand it that way, and the problem just compounds. Yes, a lot of it owes to sheer stupidity or lack of common sense; but very, very few of them would intentionally pass on inaccurate information.

                Finally, I would like to point out one thing. Obviously the people writing on this thread know what Trent Lott actually said and meant. How? Were we all there? Or did we read or hear the accurate account of it in the media as well?

                Comment


                • #9
                  quote:
                  Originally posted by Shaky & Blue:
                  quote:
                  Originally posted by Chief Wiggum:
                  I find it hard to believe that the shot was a coincidence. Even if it was, they probably had a dozen different shots to choose from when they aired the story. Why choose that particular shot?

                  Actually, they probably didn't have a dozen shots.

                  Like I wrote above, on a stakeout you usually only get one chance. It may last only 10-15 seconds. Yet, the stories are usually a minimum of 25-30 seconds. We're often using everything we have just to cover the voice track.

                  You might wonder why we couldn't just use file pictures. There's a huge drive in this business to bring the latest, freshest video to air. If this was the latest video of Lott, that's the stuff we would want to use. If there's video being shot of him right now, that's the stuff we want in our next story. File video is considered unacceptable if there's new video available.

                  Look, suppose an officer were to decline to answer my questions at a crime scene. If I were to just assume from his silence that the police had something to hide, maybe a mishandling of the case, you'd think I was nuts, right? You'd think, "This guy has absolutely no understanding of how an investigation works!"

                  Well, I'm thinking the same thing now. There's no grand conspiracy to make Lott look bad. Mike's interpretation of the meaning of this video is simply a misunderstanding of how my business works. Back at that crime scene, if I really didn't understand anything about police investigations, and just accepted some of the negative hype as truth, such a conclusion might seem reasonable in the absence of more complete information. I'm trying my best to give you a little insight, so you don't jump to conclusions based on inaccurate perceptions.

                  I will agree with Chief Wiggum that we media ghouls are attracted to controversy, and we'll flock to any perceived controversy and beat it to death, looking for any new or fresh angle we can find to keep the story alive for one more newscast. But this video is not an example of that.

                  I seem to sense an overwhelming desire here to hate the media, whether that hatred is rational or not. But if you're interested in actually understanding why Lott's comments are misunderstood as racist among the media, I have a very reasonable explanation.

                  When this mess first happened, the copy that went out from ONE of the wire services said:

                  'Lott told the audience "we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years" if Thurmond had won his 1948 Presidential bid, when he campaigned on a platform of racial segregation.'

                  Now, if that's your source of information for your newscast, how would you interpret it? Which part is background info, and which part did Lott actually say? That copy, being poorly written (by just one person somewhere, in a big hurry), is confusing. It's even more confusing when spoken, when you probably can't hear the comma separating "when he campaigned..." from the rest of the sentence.

                  Many producers would read over that quickly, because they have another twenty or thirty stories to rewrite for their newscasts, and not realize they were misinterpreting it. The anchor reads it that way, others in the newsroom hear the anchor read it and understand it that way, and the problem just compounds. Yes, a lot of it owes to sheer stupidity or lack of common sense; but very, very few of them would intentionally pass on inaccurate information.

                  Finally, I would like to point out one thing. Obviously the people writing on this thread know what Trent Lott actually said and meant. How? Were we all there? Or did we read or hear the accurate account of it in the media as well?

                  I can't speak for anyone else but I have a dislike (hatred is a little strong) for the media because I've seen them take a story that the have no information on and simply make stuff up. I even saw a reporter threaten an officer to make him look bad in her story if he didn't tell her what really happened. She told him to his face that she would lie if she had too. I understand that this is probably highly unusual but I've seen things like this all too often.

                  As far as the HUGE drive to use the latest/freshest video/pictures that may be true. But I'm sure there is and older and even MORE HUGE drive to make $$$$$$$$. That, along with competition amongst reporters, cameramen, photographers, etc..., is where all of the sensationalism in the media comes from. Everyone has an agenda and it almost always shows through, intentionally or not.

                  I guess I have a problem with people that don't DO anything they just tell stories about what other people do.

                  [ 12-17-2002, 10:30 PM: Message edited by: Chief Wiggum ]
                  Two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I have no idea what he said. I do know about media bias, and they way they like to play.

                    I heard he had some kind of praise for some old politician, and now, according to the media, he is a racist, or made to look like one. Especially when they hang a Klan hood next to you.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      quote:
                      Originally posted by Chief Wiggum:
                      I can't speak for anyone else but I have a dislike (hatred is a little strong) for the media because I've seen them take a story that the have no information on and simply make stuff up. I even saw a reporter threaten an officer to make him look bad in her story if he didn't tell her what really happened. She told him to his face that she would lie if she had too. I understand that this is probably highly unusual but I've seen things like this all too often.

                      I've seen the same thing within my own field. There are some real fruitcakes attracted to television. It is not the norm.

                      But I've also seen similar behavior on your side of the yellow tape. I've seen photographers and reporters threatened, roughed up, and gear broken. I once saw video of one of our photographers grabbed by the throat and choked by a female officer because she didn't like the fact that he was there, and he refused to leave when she told him (there was no crime scene, she just told him to "get the f*** out of here). I realize that THIS behavior is not the norm for you, either.

                      Please don't paint us all with a wide brush just because you've seen a few of us at our worst. You wouldn't want US to do that to you, right?

                      quote:
                      Originally posted by Chief Wiggum:
                      Everyone has an agenda and it almost always shows through, intentionally or not.

                      I can't really argue with you too much on this point. There are a lot of biases in television news. But those biases go in all directions. There are definitely some with anti-police bias, where others are almost police lap dogs and will repeat anything you put in a press release without question. There are some who are politically liberal and vote for Democrats; but in my experience, at least at the local level, they are more often quite conservative.

                      My point is that "the media" is not biased in any particular direction. Individuals may be biased, and individual stations may lean in a particular direction... But that's the same throughout society. I'm sure you know other cops who don't agree with all your political views.

                      quote:
                      Originally posted by Chief Wiggum:
                      I guess I have a problem with people that don't DO anything they just tell stories about what other people do.

                      I think this is probably closest to the root of your dislike for us. But why is it a problem?

                      Do you dislike accountants, because they don't do something to EARN money, but just keep track of what other people earn? What about real estate agents, who don't BUILD structures, but sell what others build? If you look around, you'll see a lot of secondary job functions that rely on other job functions to exist. If you dislike all of them, you'll have to dislike a huge portion of the population!

                      A clever news person could turn that argument around on you. Do you produce a product? Do you build anything? At the end of the day, we have a tape with a newscast on it, a physical result of all our hard work, something we can show to people. One could argue that you don't actually produce anything, but just rely on the ill-will of others to provide a service to the community.

                      I wouldn't dare argue that, because I respect the importance of what you do. Most of us do. Your "product" is a safe community.

                      Yet, at the core of our job is a fairly important service as well. Would you rather we not do this job? If we didn't, who WOULD tell the stories? Would you be content to get all of your information about your community and the world by word of mouth alone? How would you know what's going on?

                      I have a feeling it's not WHAT we do that bothers you, but that we do it poorly and then act as though our function is as important as yours. There is some validity to that view. There are many in this business whose egos are bloated with a sense of their own self-importance. They are disgusting.

                      There are also quite a few of us who fight against that attitude in our newsrooms, realizing that nobody's life is at stake if we don't get the story. This is something we struggle with throughout our careers.

                      I won't ask you to come out and hold hands with us over the yellow tape. I just hope that perhaps you'll look at us not as an enemy, but regular people in a bizarre career that gets some of us a little confused as to our own value.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        You know, you go into a donut shop & the first thing you hear is how the guy behind the counter was simply walking home from a little party the other night & the police came up & started harassing him. And why did they do this & why did they do that? After hearing his side of the story I sometimes wonder why they did this & that myself.

                        It's not the media anymore than it's law enforcement. It's a reporter the same as it is an officer doing something they shouldn't that makes the whole group look bad.

                        On a side note, here's my question about the Trent Lott thing. How is it that a certain ethnic group can hollar so loudly about prejudice when they have their own TV network, their own beauty pageant, their own police associations, etc. devoted to their people only? I know the answer given is because they were not accepted in the other networks, pageants, & associations. So two wrongs DO make a right?

                        (Disclaimer: This is a personal observation & not representative of this officer's beliefs or those of this bulletin board.)

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