Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Take your medicine

I have decided that (and this is purely metaphorical, as I’m not a practitioner of the Christian faith) commercial current-affairs shows are Satan’s propaganda given a prime-time slot. I’ve spent several years now quaking with fear over tales of killer dogs, killer food, nightmare neighbors and other such absurdities which are, in reality, glorified ghost tales given credibility by the fact that they come attached with the ‘current affairs’ title. Look at your life: how many times have you contracted cancer from the water you are drinking? Ever had a neighbor fling feces at you? Are sharks secretly plotting the demise of the human race? Poorly researched facts and skewed presentation of reality does not do the population any good. All these shows do, in my opinion, is create a culture of ignorance masked by a misplaced belief in ones own grasp of events. Ignorance is a dangerous, though common, state; the illusion of worldliness and self confidence promulgated by the crap that current affairs pump out is a truly insidious thing.

You may find yourself asking: why is Don Quixote on his hobby horse today, he is usually so sedate? Well, I’ll tell you! I was watching a show on television tonight called Media watch. The myths and scare stories put in to circulation by the aforementioned pseudo-journalists are placed under the microscope by MW, and they are often subsequently exposed for the irresponsible fraudsters that they really are. Time and again I’m astounded at the alarming deviation from truthful presentation of events that MW exposes. There are so many vested interests and the desire for ratings by the commercial networks is so high that any sense of integrity, fairness and journalistic objectivity is checked at the door like a pair of shoes at a Japanese restaurant.

Tonight’s MW article focused on a feature by channel 9’s, 60 minutes program. Last week 60 minutes ran an article about the decidedly nasty problem of Staph infections in hospitals. At this point I think I should say – you do not want a Staph infection. A Staph infection can turn a healthy and recovering patient into a decidedly dead one. I’m not for a minute suggesting that Staph infections in hospitals are cause for rejoicing and celebration. That said, I think that any assessment of the problem should be done in a calm and rational manner, not, as 60 minutes went about the task, by running around the hospital with hidden cameras; inserting dramatic music into the finished segment; and the filming of a series of ‘swabs’ that were secretly taken off of elevator buttons and handsets of public telephones found in the hospital foyer.

So what did 60 minutes turn up during their investigation you must be wondering? Apparently, the two hospitals that they ever so cleverly infiltrated are swarming with bacteria. It would appear that so much bacteria was found on the mouthpiece of a public phone that one could be excused for wondering if communication was even possible, given the conversant would be choking on an evil mouthful of vile tasting Staph. So, who performed the analysis of the swab taken by 60 minutes? Surprisingly (note my sarcasm) no mention was made of where, how, or who performed said analysis. MW found out who performed it though – a British doctor apparently did the testing and it was he who came to the conclusion that the hospital in question was host to a bacterial dance party.

At this stage in proceedings MW gave out a little background on our bacteria sniffing doctor (whose name eludes me, sorry). It would appear that doctor so and so doesn’t have any kind of qualifications in bacterial research; however, he does have a very pressing financial interest in bacteria: you see old doctor Staph has his own company specializing in anti-bacterial kits which include items like: anti-bacterial bath wash, anti-bacterial gloves and scrubs and other associated virus-destroying paraphernalia. And so we find that when presented with a swab from a hospital our doctor, who derives profit from the sale of anti-bacterial products, advises 60 minutes that there is a copious amount of bacteria on it. Could there be some sort of vested interest here??? Surely not…

Now to me this whole thing smacks of an evil ploy by a television station to grab ratings at the expense of truth and responsibility. The problem is that nobody is held to account for such a devious presentation of the facts and the vast majority will never hear about, let alone lay eyes upon, the fantastic half-hour program Media Watch. I guess these things are to be accepted – it is only Staph, right? Our media institutions and associated bodies would never extend such deception to areas of real importance: they would never sell us the dummy on issues like war and weapons of mass destruction and plans for world domination. Right?

That is my rant for this evening, my father is snoring in the other room and my concentration is flagging, which is probably a good indication that I should be joining the ranks of sleeping Australians, those dozing citizens that one hopes are not troubled by dreams of infection, rabid dogs and the war on truth.



Anonymous said...

I often find it interesting that when I watch different news stations, depending on whether the particular network is more right or left leaning, the same news stories can sound incredibly different. The spin that journalists often put on what is considered "fact" can be really shocking. Ladybug

Elevatorstars said...

You should watch The Corporation. A tv news station fired a couple of journalists for not wanting to "edit" their piece about milk made by the company Monsanto. It's not even the news programmes themselves that are the problem (I don't think at least), it's the people(s) that own the networks and newspapers. Here in Canada half the national papers are owned by one guy, and if you look closely you can see the nepotism and one-sided views just oozing out of them.

Don Quixote said...

It seems to be an increasingly dangerous thing - the media. The real problem, as I see it, is that society is unable to function without access to news and information, however, it is nearly impossible to ensure objectivitiy and an absence of bias within said news services. Greater minds than mine are required for solving this problem I'm afraid. *sighs*