Sunday, January 10, 2010

TV news gets too much wrong

photo by Paul McGuire

This is just a short rant...I'll try not to get too angry. But I have to ask...why is it so dificult for TV news stations to focus on accuracy as opposed to sensationalism? No, you don't have to answer because, sadly, I know the answer. The reason is that they're trying to draw in viewers. Much the same way certain websites will write headlines specifically to encourage clicks, TV news creates sensationalist stories out of otherwise boring or normal news.

For example, the Early Show recently ran a story about the new updates to Ford Sync, the super awesome hands free system where the driver can do everything from playing music, to making phone calls, to getting directions all by voice command. The tease went something like, "A new system brings gadgets into the driver's seat and can be even more distracting than texting! Coming up next!"

Then the story ran and the reporter went into great detail about all the screens, audio alerts, and capabilities of the system, all the while making sure to say how dangerous it is to be doing this stuff while driving. But at the very end (literally the last words out of her mouth) were, "We should point out none of the interactive features will work while the car is in motion."

So they really ran the story for no reason other than to grab viewers, scare them into watching the story, create negative press for Ford, then say that the story is moot anyway. Ridiculous! And yet average viewers won't know the difference.

TV news shows are so famous for getting tech stories wrong that it really makes me wonder about all of the other stories they do. I know enough about the tech stuff to know that the stories are innacurate, but stories about travel, medicine, cooking, or other subjects that I don't have as much personal knowledge do I know if they're accurate or not?

The moral of the story can't trust the system. No, seriously. Never take anyone (or any TV show) at their word. Always double check the facts, especially before acting on them.

Sorry, I'll get off my soapbox now. :-)


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