One of the things that annoys me about television journalism is “man on the street” interviews about important subjects. First of all, I live near a big, metropolitan city in the south. Oh heck, I’ll just say it. I live near Atlanta. Watching the evening news is painful. When the Michael Vick story was big every stereotypical impoverished white person or black person was on the news giving their often inarticulate opinion. And then, because the station is based in Atlanta, their clip would make it on CNN.
I sometimes wonder if the producers are just having a little fun, spicing up their already boring day, by choosing the people with the heaviest southern accents, or poor grammar, or ridiculous comments regarding les news du jour.
And then, of course, there’s Fox News (not based in Atlanta, thank God) with their inane banter and shallow commentary on newsworthy events. I don’t want to hear from the man on the street. I certainly don’t want to hear the opinions of news journalist wannabes who got the job because they looked good on camera.
Just give me the news, for God’s sakes. Give me the facts and let me decide how I feel about it. I’m not a lemming. I don’t need to hear how Joe Blow feels before I can decide what I think about the situation in Iran.
So, I read most of my news. But even that can be tricky. I’ll be reading along and mid-way through I realize I’m reading opinion, thinly disguised as fact. By the end of the article, I’m both sure that it’s opinion and I’m disgusted. If the topic really interests me, I’ll Google it and sift through fact and fiction until I get a clear picture. But what a pain in the fingers.
Imagine my surprise when I find an article, online, promising The 13 Things That Blah, Blah, Blah (I’m not going to name it. It wasn’t that great of an article and I don’t want to hurt the blogger’s – dare I say writer’s? – feelings.)
The article gave a cursory overview of the topic in one or two paragraphs and then……
…wait for it……
…wait for it…..
Facebook fans wrote the rest.
Oh, sure. The writer (I use this term loosely) compiled the responses. But items #1, #2, #3 and so on were quotations via Facebook.
An entire article based on Joe and Jane Blows from Facebook. Their opinion. Not even a collective study of the most 13 Blah, Blah, Blahs. Just 13 random opinions that were gathered from a Facebook page.
Now that’s the ultimate lazy writing move.
And if I ever get a case of terminal writer’s block?
She might be on to something.