Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Ruth's Morning Edition Report: A sad day for news & NPR

Ruth: Morning Edition today did something truly tragic and truly naked. They revealed how they'll rush behind the feel good story if someone's offended by reality. Listening, I tried to figure out if Steve [Inskeep] was joking but it's so hard to tell since his vocal quality is "smirk."

Here's the story:

Morning Edition, April 20, 2005 · Some listeners were dismayed by our recent coverage of a plan to hunt down cats in Wisconsin. In the interest of balance, here's the story of a woman who saved a cat. A bobcat in Maine attacked Mildred Luce's house cat. The bobcat had the pet in its mouth when Luce, 90, pulled its tail. The house cat broke loose and fled into the house, followed by the big cat, which Mildred Luce then locked in a bathroom until a game warden arrived.

Read the above closely. That's what Steve, a news anchor, delivered on air.

That coverage of a real plan to hunt down cats was offensive to some listeners. NPR didn't make up the story. It was real news. But because some people complained, for "balance," Morning Edition has to broadcast a story about "a woman who saved a cat." I don't call it news, I call it ongepotchket.

I'm sure bobcats are saved all the time. But this naked announcement that because some people were offended by the broadcast of a real story, a proposal being considered by a state government, Morning Edition feels that responding to this reaction requires a happy-talk story tells you more than anything else what news has come to.

They could have done a story on the response, from listeners, from animal rights activists, environmentalists, the people who favor the law and the people who oppose the law. But that must have been too controversial or too real so, instead, they rush out with a happy talk story that wouldn't cut it on your local news. Maybe next time they can just play a song from the Aristocats? My children and grandchildren always enjoyed "Ev'rybody Wants To Be A Cat." It doesn't have anything to do with a proposed law but neither does the story Morning Edition gave us today. At least with that song we can tap our toes while grinning at the 'cuteness.'

This is how bad things are getting and I wish I could find something witty to say or show some spunk like my granddaughter would enjoy. But I just find this so sad and disgusting.

NPR feels that a story about a proposed law bothered listeners. Instead of dealing with the story and taking it further to include other viewpoints, they throw up their hands in defeat and toss out this. I really think this says a great deal about the state of news today and it really saddens me.

[Note: Since we haven't discussed the proposed law, it may be new to some. If that's the case, you can find a story at the L.A. Times on it by P.J. Huffstutter from April 12th. You can also find information at Alley Cat Allies.]