Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sly as a FOX

Allow me to take a moment here to make a general statement about the news: It sucks. All of it. I say this not because the people that report the news are bad people--one could argue that they're just doing their jobs. That they're paid to sit in front of an audience of cameras and parrot the scrolling teleprompter as best they can. Well, that argument isn't what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the news as a whole...the networks, the presentation, and the assholes that sit behind those big desks and may or may not be wearing pants.

Tonight I sat downstairs and watched a news report on CNN about a Muslim mosque that was burned down and defiled somewhere in Tennessee. Tragic, yes, I know. After the story was done, the anchor did the obligatory "Hmm...that's sad" remark before suddenly brightening up and exclaiming that, "Coming up next is our salute to LOVE! With Valentine's Day right around the corner!" Man, what a killer segue. That's the kind of crap I can't stand, and unfortunately it's always on the news.

Now let's turn to another news saga for a second. I'm not going to dwell here because I don't think I need to, but a short recap: FOX News reported that EA's Mass Effect is basically brimming, nay, overflowing with sex (even wittily titling Microsoft's platform "Sexbox" .. get it!? Like.. sex, in box form!), branding it as some kind of Antichrist of videogames that goes above and beyond all moral realms of thought. Unfortunately, they were wrong, and went so far as to have an "open" discussion, on air, with someone who actually knows what they're talking about. But they didn't want to believe they were wrong, so they did what FOX News does best--snubbed him out of any actual relevant words and overwhelmed him with idiots who were on their side. Brilliant.

Of course, one of the idiots took her words back after actually playing the game. And now there's this stagnant lake of drama between EA and FOX news, one demanding an apology and the other being FOX News, respectively. The whole thing is teeming with unclean feelings, but at least it reinforces my opinion that the news, in general, sucks. FOX News especially, but everyone knows that.

So, put that whole thing aside and make room for this. Oh FOX News, will you ever stop being assholes? Here's another tragic story: Post war vet flips out because he sees something that reminds him of the war. Hm...has that ever happened before? Oh wait, that "something" happens to be a videogame-- Call of Duty 4 (though I'd imagine any wargame could set someone off, and the report isn't specific of which CoD game he was playing). The stupid thing about this story is you know FOX is going to happily blame videogame violence for doing this. "If only games weren't so violent in the first place," I see a reporter saying, "maybe the world would just be a better place."

No, no... less wars in general wouldn't make the world a better place. It's the games. But I'm not going to fully jump to any conclusions about FOX that haven't happened quite yet. If I did, I'd be just like them.

All of this leads me to one single point: mainstream news really, truly blows. It's hard to get facts about anything in general, though. But watching the nightly news in any state can't be good for you. The news starts with death, rape, fire, and war to grab you attention, then keeps it by discussing the local adorable Kindergarten Bakeoff for Kittens. They have uneducated people join their discussion shows to talk about videogames they haven't played. In short: if they have a message they want to report, it overrides what they should report.

And that's never going to change. So long as there are TV ratings up for grabs, they will fight to the bitter end to cause controversy and get viewers. Just look at how many websites have commented on the Mass Effect bullshit, mine included. Sure, it makes a whole ton of people hate FOX, but it still puts FOX in their heads. Maybe some will flip over there while watching TV just to see the next stupid thing they report. FOX doesn't care; a rating is a rating.

This is why I just don't watch the news. I have the internet. Sure, that's tainted, too. The story I linked is from FOX, after all (they've infected the internet!?). But it's better than nothing. If you're smart, you know where to go for news and your options are limitless when compared to local broadcasts. Remember, folks, there was a time that Mortal Kombat was so violent that the news just couldn't stop talking about it. Funny how things change.

Now I think I'll make myself some Hot Coffee and watch The Daily Show...wait, it's Sunday. Fuck.

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