The apparent mantra of most of our media seems to be, “Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story.” Why? Because, common, mundane stories do not sell advertising – the lifeblood of all media. Sensationalize! Sensationalize! Sensationalize!
Atlanta, Georgia August, 1996
In August, 1996, the Summer Olympics were taking place in Atlanta. One evening, while walking through Centennial Olympic Park, a security guard by the name of Richard Jewell discovered what appeared to be a bomb in an unattended ALICE pack. He immediately began clearing the crowded area and notified police. The bomb detonated, killing one person and injuring 111. It could have been much, much worse in terms of lives lost.
Jewell was hailed as a hero for four days. Then, the overly ambitious FBI, no doubt affected by President Clinton calling the event an “evil act of terror” and vowing to do everything possible to track down and punish those responsible, mentioned Jewell as being a ‘person of interest.’ This claim, coupled with a previous employer notifying the local press and the FBI that he thought Mr. Jewell was a loner and a “badge-wearing” zealot, was all that was needed. The media frenzy ‘three ring circus’ came to town! Literally! They followed Jewell with cameras wherever he went. Newspaper journalists, newspaper photographers, TV newscasters and TV cameramen taunted him for over two months. The FBI searched his mother’s house. Later, Jewell himself referred to the whole media frenzy “like piranha on a bleeding cow.”
Indeed. A true case of the media elevating itself to the position of being prosecutor, judge, and jury. When it came to Mr. Jewell, they virtually did everything but put up the cross and look for a large hammer and a bucket of galvanized nails.
Result: In late October of 1996, it became obvious that Mr. Jewell had not been involved in the bombing. The Justice Department formally cleared him. Eric Rudolph, a North Carolina man who became suspect in the subsequent bombing of an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, pleaded guilty to the Olympic park attack.
Mr. Jewell filed libel charges against CNN and NBC news, and he received settlements from both. He filed charges against the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, wanting a public, printed apology. These charges got tied up in the judicial system and were never settled. Richard Jewell, hero, goat, and again a hero, died in 2007 at the age of 44 from diabetes.
Can anyone remember what else occurred in 1996? Time is up! It was an election year. The incumbent, Bill Clinton was making front page news about an alleged affair with a White House intern named Monica. This event conveniently took him off the front page until a few days before the election. “I have not had relations with that woman.” He was reelected, and we found out differently.
Savannah, Georgia Summer 2013
Has any one person been more chastised, maligned and punished by the media this year than Paula Deen?
Let me begin by stating that I, Grandpa T, like most red-blooded, All-American men in the United States, have not watched Paula Deen for more than 10 minutes in my lifetime. That 10 minutes would have occurred as I was changing channels to get to a good Gunsmoke rerun.
Paula Deen has not done anything wrong, as of today, as determined by the judicial system. Yet, because she admitted using a ‘racially improper’ word that has been apparently deemed more derogatory than any other word on planet Earth, she has been punished far more than what any court system could possibly do. All of this has been done by the media. Never mind that this word is used frequently in top-selling hip-hop songs all the time!
Let me pose a question. Would we have heard of any of this if Paula Deen were neither famous nor rich? I do not think so. An average Joe Blow would not have had the notoriety, and the media would have had a more difficult time sensationalizing the story. Paula is a great target.
Now let me tell you something you may not know about the Paula Deen story. This lawsuit, brought on by a manager of a restaurant owned by Paula and her brother, was started last year. The lawsuit was founded on sexual harassment and racial discrimination. The lawsuit was not progressing as hoped for the plaintiff, so the scumbag prosecuting attorney got Paula on the stand and asked if she had ever used the “N” word. She said she had, 30 years ago when she was a bank clerk, and a black man put a loaded gun in her face. The scumbag attorney, because he was not making headway in the frivolous lawsuit, exploited this revelation by relating it to the media! Paula Deen’s media frenzy begins!
Result: Within the last month, the racial discrimination portion of the lawsuit was thrown out of the courts, because the manager bringing the lawsuit was a white female! (Yup, it doesn’t make sense to me either.) The sexual harassment portion is still in the mix, but I do not see how Paula could be involved with this directly, other than being a partner in the restaurant. At the age of 66, I do not believe she is experimenting with an alternate lifestyle. She appears to be too happily married for a dip in the lady pond at this stage in her life.
However…………because of all the publicity, thanks to the media, 11 of Paula’s sponsors have severed their ties with Paula Deen Enterprises. Because she told the truth in what she said, and because these companies are apparently all being run by the most angelic people ever known to God and man (and are so cowardly that they jumped to conclusions before the court systems had completed their findings and verdicts), I am going to list them:
Ballantine Publishing dropped Paula even though her yet to be published cook book broke all Amazon records for the sale of a yet-to-be published book.
Paula has lost tens of millions of dollars, because she admitted using the ‘N’ word; and the media could not get enough of her story. It would not surprise me if the sexual harassment part of this lawsuit were to be dismissed shortly. It is becoming apparent that a disgruntled employee found a hack attorney to extort Paula in the hope of a big, unearned, unmerited payday.
Sensationalize! Sensationalize! Sensationalize!
Sanford, Florida February, 2012
The tragic death of Trayvon Martin occurs. Trayvon is black. His killer: a Latino by the name of George Zimmerman. Initially, it appears to the inspecting officers that it was a case of self defense.
I am not going to go into detail about this case. Most people are well aware of the entire incident. I will say that if you have not done so, you should read about the entire case. If you think you know everything, you may find out that you likely only know about half.
I digress. As mentioned, it appeared that this was a case of self-defense. So much so that the police did not arrest George Zimmerman. Then the media got involved. And with statements from people such as Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and the President of the United States (POTUS), the entire incident fueled into another media frenzy.
The media outdid itself in attempting to sensationalize this tragic event. They referred to Zimmerman as a ‘white-latino.’ (What does that make our President?) This was clearly done to increase the racial fervor of this incident. Al Sharpton accused Zimmerman of being a murderer, because he had suffered no injuries. Zimmerman not being injured was detail provided by a supposed witness. Ironically, police photos of Zimmerman at the police station the night of the shooting were not released for weeks after the event. Whether this was intentional by the police, or omitted by the press on purpose, I have never been able to determine. In fact, Zimmerman had a broken, swollen bloody nose, and had a lacerated head wound that was bleeding down the back of his neck. He looked like hell!
The POTUS said that if he had a son, he would be like Trayvon Martin. Would that mean he would have a son who was tattooed, and suspended from school three times for various infractions? Trayvon went to school in Miami. He was in Sanford (Orlando area) because he was suspended from school.
The biggest manipulation was the picture that became the icon of Trayvon Martin. You know the picture. It is the picture of a 12 year old Trayvon wearing a hoodie. Not the picture of the 17-year-old thug with tattoos.
Because the media circus was in full stride, and key national figures decided that George Zimmerman is a killer, the Governor of Florida, Rick Scott, tasked the state to investigate the incident. He was forced to do this. Ultimately, 47 days after the incident, George Zimmerman was arrested.
Result: George Zimmerman was found not guilty. Once sorted out by the judicial system, there really were no credible witnesses, aside from the two individuals involved.
Zimmerman is seeking $300,000 from the State of Florida for his legal expenses. He may well get it.
Additionally, he will receive a pending, huge settlement from a lawsuit with NBC. NBC doctored the 911 tapes to make it appear that there was no doubt that Zimmerman was guilty of murder.
Sensationalize! Sensationalize! Sensationalize!
Hollywood, California August 2013
When we think of media, we oftentimes overlook the movie industry. Whereas print media sells subscriptions and advertising, movie media sells tickets and advertising.
Grandma P wanted to see ‘The Butler.’ To say that this movie was designed to raise ‘racial fervor’ would be an understatement. The true story, one of which a black man served seven different presidents, is interesting enough. To convert this story into a movie which is about as close to reality as the Wizard of Oz, is a travesty. The travesty portion is because they are marketing is as a factual interpretation of this mans’ life. Unfortunately, most viewers will not differentiate fact from fiction.
Result: Sell those tickets! Sell those subscriptions! Sell that advertising!
The common theme among all these topics?
Media distorts the truth. There is no truth in advertising or news. To add insult to injury, the media not only misrepresents the facts, but they tell society how to feel about these events. They no longer take an objective approach to sharing news. They present it in a biased, fairytale fashion. As a bonus, they inform us (or imply to us) of the clear victims and obvious villains.
Intelligent people, such as my readers, would prefer to hear the raw facts and come to their own conclusions.
Well, I’m off to buy Grandma P some Paula Deen cookware. I hear it’s on clearance at Walmart.
“Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story.”
PS I would like to thank the Bayou Mauler for her excellent editing work. She also wrote some of the more interesting parts of this blog by providing a ‘female’ perspective.