Saturday, September 18, 2004

Flung, Tossed, What's the Difference?

After having just read the Bernard Goldberg book "Bias", I'm a little hyper-sensitive about the news lately. What better example of "slant" can there be with the recent news story where a young man was fleeing police in a car with his girlfriend's baby inside.

I saw the video. Had I not, the stories written about what had happened would have made me angry and caused me to hate this man (who later died after ramming a police car).

Here are two examples of headlines:
"Baby Flung Out Of Car During High Speed Chase"
"Baby Tossed Out Of Car Window During High Speed Chase"

HOLY SHIT! Some guy FLUNG a baby out of a car during a high speed chase? "Flung" gives the reader the image that as this guy was whipping down the highway (at a high rate of speed) he FLUNG the baby (just the baby) out of the car. Subsequent descriptions written about what happen to the baby (in a car seat) after it was "flung" suggest that the car seat "tumbled" across the highway. Well, duh... if a baby in a car seat had been flung out of a speeding car, you would think it would skitter down the road. He must have done that to create a distraction for police so he could get away! He certainly deserved to die in the ensuing accident as he probably purposefully rammed the police car.

HOLY SHIT! Some guy tossed a baby out of a car window during a high speed chase? While this guy was whipping down the highway (at a high rate of speed) rolled down the window and flung the baby out the window. He must have done that to create a distraction for police so he could get away! He certainly deserved to die in the ensuing accident as he probably purposefully rammed the police car.

EXCEPT, I saw the video. Even before I read these stories, I happened to catch the video feed on CNN and from my perspective, I saw this:
Some guy was being chased by police. He slowed the car down to almost a complete stop. He opened his car door, and placed the baby seat on the road. The car was still moving slightly, so the babyseat bounced lightly a few times and tipped over, as the man pulled away. Police stopped and picked up the carseat and unharmed baby. Later the man died when he hit a police car (that part wasn't on the video, so who knows what really happened). When I saw the video, I thought "At least the guy had the common decency to get the child out of harms way". I felt his actions were that to save the child from harm, that his intention was not to harm the baby. The news people didn't say why he was being chased, but even if it were for murder, he had at least a SHRED of common decency in him.

So... upon seeing the video, not once did I think the baby was flung, and there's no mistaking that he opened up the car door, so how could it even be written as truth that he threw the baby out of car window... unless whoever wrote the story did absolutely NO ivestigating whatsoever, and didn't even watch the video, and perhaps wrote the story based on what someone told them. That's not reporting, that's pure fiction!

Regardless, doing a Google News search, the flung baby, and tossed out a window story were perpetuated by news service after news service throughout the United States (and probably other countries as well). People who were not able to watch the actual video were led to believe (mistakenly... maliciously?) that this guy flung a baby, or tossed it out a car window from a speeding car.

This is just one blatant example of how the news MEDIA manipulate their audiences. It gets them ratings. I can't count the times CNN alone played the video over and over, with their newscasters explaining to us what we were seeing... because we're too stupid to make our own decisions on what actually happened.

I've been very cynical of the "news" for a long time, but Mr. Goldberg has helped me understand more of the "spin", so I can be aware of other "untruths" that filter into reports to help me "make up my mind" on important issues.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, the news is more like "newsertainment" that people feed on--trying to hear about the most shoking or horrifying tales of the moment. News media is shameless in thier pursuit or ratings. I'd rather watch cartoons, they are more realistic.