Sunday, September 05, 2010

We Were On the News.

The question is never, will the news distort the truth in pursuit of an easily-digestible narrative, but how they're going to do it. That's both a knock and not a knock at the same time; if you've got twenty-two minutes to impart to the viewer a general interest digest of local and national happenings, you're going to have to shape your footage into something with a direct thorough-line. This is something that, having been in politics, I was acutely aware of-- a nuanced statement or position reduced to something that got me into hot water, because when everything has to be timed down to the second, there's just not a whole lot of time for nuance.

I remember when the Kilpatrick scandal hit the national news, and on that level it simply became about Kwame Kilpatrick being caught sending some naughty text messages. But it was never really about that-- it was really about, on a specific level, the men he fired to prevent his sexual history from coming to light and the taxpayer money he spent to fight their unlawful termination lawsuits and, eventually, to pay them off; on a more general level, it was about a level of hubris of almost Greek proportions. Saying it was a sex scandal really missed the point of the story.

I wouldn't say that this story about us precisely "missed the point" of us, and we're not exactly offering our commentary on this news story in the above video to necessarily "take them to task" or "set the record straight". It's more about highlighting a process, to take a short glance at the methods used to shape that particular narrative.

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