17 June 2009

Advert your Eyes! ABC World News Tonight and Phil Mickelson

Welcome to the first of many editions of Advert your Eyes! As a consumer of media and of life, my conscious state finds infuriation at the completely bastardized blizzard that is modern media. As far as I'm concerned, the already pinpoint line that separated advertising and media is consistently assaulted by a massive pink eraser, and it's now to the point where this line is invisible to both human and artificial means of sight. This will be the core of Advert your Eyes, the assault of the culture of advertising. How it affects and effectively battles common intelligence, at times cackling straight into our collective mind's face.

The facet of this phenomenon that is most frustratingly peevish to me is cross promotion, the persistent placement and forced synergy between companies, events, and media companies. This ruse is so often employed by ABC/ESPN/Disney that it is difficult to bear. Reference the countless cross promotions of movies and basketball games, sponsored television segments, and the like. Arguments are made citing the corporate, financial, and profit-based benefits of such marketing schemes, and if such pursuits simply ruin any possible enjoyment of a sporting event or television series or further fortify the unbearable nature of commercial breaks, my eye lash bats not.

Then today, I watched ABC News with Charles Gibson (actually, I think we're calling him Charlie now). Now, to put into context the the information that could have been potentially bestowed upon viewers on the WORLD NEWS of this day, June 17, 2009:

1.Iran Election Chaos

2.Chaotic consequences in South America stemming from this violent swirl.

3.Consistent mayhem on a third continent.

4.A fourth continent and all its nonsense.

The above four stories, all massively important world affairs worthy of true focus and attention. A 23 minute program could devote a 6-6-6-5 minute split on each of these stories, and at least begin or bolster the information process; and at least let the program live up to its billing of world news.

And yet.

A human interest story on a popular golfer, "Lefty" Mickelson and his wife, unfortunately diagnosed with breast cancer. 4 minutes in length, and the closing statement of ABC World News Tonight featuring Charlie. Breast cancer, obviously a serious issue. Raising awareness of it and all cancer, a true social responsibility. An inspiring yet ultimately unimportant pursuit in the face of personal and familiar adversity, for many. But at its root, a commercial.

The segment closes, as you've probably already seen, with Charlie reminding us all that ESPN's coverage of the United States Open golf tournament, coverage which will not doubt focus and be fed by the storyline of Lefty playing for his spouse, who in all likelihood will be fine considering the admitted "good" prognosis and the mountains of cash in the Mickelson coffers.

Phil, all the best to your family in this time of struggle, and I hope the odds hold true and wifey turns out just fine. I don't know if you ask for this attention, and if you do, whether you're doing it for shameless reasons. But because of what this story line has become I will be disappointed to see you the victor. But a gutsy 2nd or 3rd that earns you respect and admiration, and allows ample camera coverage of all the pink, I can live with that.

Disney, such a story deserves no place on your world news program. The two dozen World News watchers who now care about the US Open enough to watch the inevitably pink-shirted Lefty try to lift the silver cup for his wife, is it number and margin enough to sacrifice a segment on your program. Are you even trying to hold up the facade that your program billed as World News is simply a tool to self-promote and proliferate ignorance on vital current affairs amongst its admittedly small viewership?

Please stop. And let us eliminate the notion that true news can be found by those who look hard enough for it. It is now our responsibility to seek out root sources and obscure reporting buried in piles of human interest, marketing drivel, which is fine, if mass media was not radiating the stench of purposefully administering ignorance and sacrificing its already paper thin time allowance for alleged World News.

Advert your eyes today from ABC World News, and from Lefty and Charlie. And the faceless dollar sign suit wearers behind the tube's travesty.

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