Wednesday, May 30, 2007

More reasons not to trust the media...

None of us are strangers to conflicting media reports. One day we hear one thing, the next day we hear a contradiction. It's to the point where we don't know what to believe and sadly there really isn't much we can do about it. That is because the great majority of us have lives to live which include family responsibilities, school, jobs, etc. Therefore we rely on the individuals whose jobs it is to do the research for us and report it in an unbiased fashion.

It's called journalism but unfortunately it's a lost art.

A good example is this latest with "TB Andy" as he's become affectionately known. There are so many conflicting stories we've given up listening to any news reports about it. What's the point?

Yesterday DH and I were listening to ABC radio news between our favorite talk radio programs and at 4 pm we heard ABC news report that the CDC had not yet located all of the people who were onboard the same flights as TB Andy. At 5 pm we heard the news again and Charlie Gibson said at that time that all of the persons onboard his flights had been notified.

That's a lot of progress in one hour---especially for a government agency, which is why we didn't buy it.

Today it's being reported again that the CDC is still trying to get a hold of all the people on those flights.

Which is it? Either all of the people were located or they weren't.

Next is the ABC radio news report stating that TB Andy's strain was contagious, untreatable and deadly. Yet not long afterwards we heard a report that the CDC was not worried about the passengers being infected.

Which is it? Either it's contagious, untreatable and deadly or it isn't.

ABC radio news is also broadcasting that TB Andy was not informed of his deadly strain before he left the United States because the letter the CDC sent to him arrived after he departed the U.S. Yet the ABC report said nothing about the fact that the CDC sent a representative to Rome to meet with TB Andy to urge him not to take commercial flights because of the risk of spreading the disease. But ABC had to know about this Rome visit because it's been all over the talk radio circuit this evening.

ABC news has a resident physician who stated that TB Andy was low-risk. Yet we're told that a simple cough or a sneeze could catapult the nuclei into the air and contaminate other human beings.

Which is it? Either a deadly strain of rare untreatable TB is deadly or it isn't.

ABC news makes TB Andy out to be the victim. It's amazing that days after this story broke he's appearing on Good Morning America with Diane Sawyer. How about interviewing the hundreds of people who were exposed to him during his romp through Europe and Canada and back to the US? What about them? Aren't they victims? TB Andy knew he was contagious, knew he had a rare deadly form of TB. Not only was he informed in Rome but it is evident in his actions getting back into the country. ABC reported he snuck back in the way he did--through the Canadian border because he was afraid if he didn't get back to the US, he would die of the disease.

Here's a man who put the lives of hundreds--possibly thousands at risk and ABC News makes him out to be the victim. And so I throw my hands up in the air and shake my head in dismay at each new ABC news report concerning TB Andy. I don't believe a word they say anymore. How can I? They've lost my trust.

You and I are not in a position to be in the midst of every newsworthy "event" making it impossible for us to have a first-person account. And so we rely on journalism professionals to bring that information to us, factually, without opinion, without bias.

Yes, note the emphasis on professionals.....a term I am using quite loosely here for good reason.

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