Sensationalizing the obvious: the chicken little news

We’re facing tough times. I don’t need a newspaper to tell me that- every single day. Today there was a story about people ditching their cars for insurance money, real effect on most of us, negligible. Damage to our attitude and psyche, progressively worse.

We’ve had two bold, daylight murders- both drug related. Effect on most of us- minimal. Damage to our perception of safety- real.

Regurgitating Columbine. Reminder- sure. News, no. We can pick things through history for every day of the year to remember. Yes, Pearl Harbor day was a black eye on American military might, but 60 years later it’s not news- it’s a history lesson.

The Wright Brothers were from Dayton. It’s been over 100 years since they first flew. Every time their great niece sneezes- it’s a front page story. Why?

News isn’t just writing about what happened, or regurgitating a press release. News is supposed to give us some sort of insight on what is going on around us. Make us smarter. It’s supposed to help us analyze what is happening so we can work together to solve our common problems.

It’s also supposed to give us fodder for debate. Not just one side of the story- but both sides. If you are really informed, you should be able to win a debate arguing either side. That’s probably why we see so few real debates any more. Debates are now settled with a score card that’s generally evaluated by a balance in a checking account. (The one exception was the anti-smoking laws passed in Ohio where the pro-tobacco lobby outspent the anti-smokers something like 6-1).

Once again, I’ve spent time reading the whole Dayton Daily News and feel less informed or insightful than I do by reading just a few stories from the New York Times.

I don’t need chicken little dammit, I need journalism.

What do you need?

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