Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Drive-By Media

I heard this term on a very popular daytime talk radio program recently. Of all the terms I've heard for the so-called main-stream media (MSM), this new one, Drive-by Media (DBM), coined by Rush Limbaugh seems the most apt.

For instance, does anyone remember the U.A.E. Dubai ports story? Not if you're watching the regular news and cable shows. You hardly hear anything about it now. Proof in and of itself as to how incredibly distorted and demagogued that story was. The DBM just drove by us, stopped, spraying a hail of bullets (figuratively) about Arabs taking over control of our ports, left a bunch of people screaming and yelling, and then the DBM drove off.

The same thing has been happening for years with the Iraq story. They drive by, rat-a-tat-tat about how many people were blown up; shot, or how many soldiers were killed, and then they drive away. How many of you know that most of the violence in Iraq is centered around a small area of the Sunni triangle, mostly around and on the outskirts of Baghdad? How many of you know that northern and southern Iraq (especially northern) are experiencing a great deal of economic growth? Well, you wouldn't if you get most of your news from the DBM.

Here's something a little closer to home. How many of you knew that, for the past two years, over 5 million new jobs have been created in this economy? That the unemployment rate is 4.7%? Or that stocks closed up today at their highest level in five years? If you did know, you probably didn't hear it from the DBM.

Their latest drive-by is about President Bush's poll numbers. They shout about how the numbers show he's "At his lowest level yet in the polls" and are wondering if this means his presidency is over. Has the president has already achieved "Lame Duck" status? Not likely. But you wouldn't know that if you watch the DBM. Polls go up and down because events change rapidly in politics. But, somehow, I doubt you'll hear a week's worth of news and numerous stories about the president's poll numbers when they inevitably go up.

When dealing with the Drive-by Media in the future, don't go into Dubai-ports-mode anymore. They have become the televised National Enquirer and should garner the same amount of attention and respect (or lack there of). Only ask yourself one question when watching the DBM from now on. "Wow! What if that were true?" Then, move on to a more reliable source of news to get the facts. Like, say, the internet blogosphere or talk radio.

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