If you're not knitting, the terrorists win

(My mostly on-topic ramblings about knitting. And life in general. My life in specific.)

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Location: Indiana, United States

I'm a middle aged mother of 2 grown children and wife to a man who doesn't seem to mind my almost heroin-like yarn addiction. I spend my time writing, knitting, and generally stressing out.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Patwoman Rants About Bad Journalism

If there is one thing that really pisses me off, it's bad journalism. (Yeah, yeah. I know lots of things piss me off. But, seriously. Bad journalism is pretty high up on the list.)

You know I was a journalist for many years, right? A real journalist. And when I say that, I don't mean I was famous, or covered earth-shaking stories. I mean a real journalist--one who endeavored to tell a story from all sides in order to give the reader/listener/viewer the whole story so that they could then be informed of the facts and form their own opinions and reactions based on facts and truth and not someone else's opinion, business decision, or political/religious agenda.

But even when a story is not noticeably biased, I've notice a lot of just plain bad reporting. For example, how many "news" stories give some vague statistics--"many residents" or "people who know say..." (or some variation) without telling you where that information came from (according to US Census report... according to the Board of Public Works... according to JoeBob, who was the only person standing here when I was recording witnesses' reactions...)?

Recently, after a house explosion here in Indianapolis, local news crews covered the story. One channel featured a guy who said he didn't see the explosion, but heard it from a few blocks away. He said he knew it wasn't an ordinary explosion, like from a gas main, but that it was caused by a bomb. There was no way this was an accident. It was definitely foul play.

Now, as it turns out, it looks like there was an incendiary device planted. It looks like there was foul play involved. But (and here is my problem with this) the story didn't say this guy was a former marine bomb expert (he wasn't) or that he had served time for making bombs and blowing shit up (he didn't) or that he was a bomb expert who had done a lot of research and written a lot of books on bombs (he wasn't) or that he was an employee of the gas company and had witnessed or heard gas main explosions before (he wasn't and I don't know if he's ever heard a gas main explosion or not) or if he was a fire investigator, or police officer, or someone who may have seen something similar (he wasn't).

So, as I'm watching this story on tv and listening to the guy talk (and they talked to him several times for several minutes) I'm wondering How the hell does this guy know? and Maybe we should be talking to this guy about how he knows?

Today, I read a story online (one of the news affiliates' websites) about a funeral home director who was allegedly ordered to cobble together corpses from containers of odd body parts they had on hand. Apparently, the funeral director couldn't find some cadavers they were supposed to donate to a medical school and he says he was told to fake some corpses using these body parts.

This story talked to the funeral director, the parent company of the funeral home, and offered the opinion of a funeral director in another city. But what it didn't ask was:

1) What happened to the original medical cadavers? Is no one disturbed that cadavers just went missing from a funeral home? Do corpses routinely go missing? Who has access to these corpses? How many have come up missing in the past? (The funeral director claims this--putting together random pieces of bodies to cover up missing bodies--has happened before.) Are the families of these corpses aware?

2) Why does the funeral home have containers of random body parts lying around? Why do they have enough random body parts to make several cadavers? Where do these parts come from? Have the families given permission to the funeral home to remove/keep/use these body parts? What kind of body parts would they be? Arms? Legs? Torsos? Heads? Wouldn't medical students be able to tell these were just Frankensteined together? Did they or the medical school ever raise any concerns?

3) What is being done to investigate this? The story was about the funeral director's lawsuit to gain lost wages, etc, because he felt he had been unfairly forced to resign and suffered because he refused to comply with those orders. The story was not about missing bodies or missing body cover up.

Now, maybe the reporter/news station asked those questions and just don't have the answers yet. And I could maybe justify going to press with a story that still had some unanswered questions (providing you were still working to get answers and said so) if the story were something fresh and important. I'm not oblivious to the business side of this. I know you've got to get to the stories first or your competition will.

But this is hardly breaking news. The man was forced to resign in October.

And don't even get me started on leading a news broadcast with the weather. It's January. It's going to snow in Indiana. It's not record snow. It's not even a lot of snow. (I probably won't even shovel the drive for this 1" dusting.) It's not the first snow. It's not going to keep some awesome event from happening. It's not even going to keep me home from work. It's not news. And it's not news to see the empty bread and milk shelves at the grocery store.


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