The TV programs may be good, but the web site for the series is confusing. For example, a video, “The Media Is Lying to You About Pirates.” has a caption that states: “The IFC Media Project’s ‘News Junkie’ de-constructs the mainstream media’s half-baked coverage of Somali Pirates. New season premiere’s 5/3!” It’s from Episode 201.
I watched the video. The problem? In a music-video-style of fast cuts of footage and subject, the cartoon does not present a coherent argument that the caption and heading promise. Stranger still, there is no example of media lies per se anywhere in the segment. The stream of conscious rant concludes that it’s “TMI” (too much information”) as the reason why the media networks do not link the illegal plunder of fish off Somalia’s shores as the real cause of pirates. The voice over tells us (followed by an elephant sound) that the absence of fish is the “big elephant in the room” that the media ignores.
Next, I quickly move to “Media Literacy Resources” links: “Test Your Media IQ” (I don’t know how ten questions can be useful) and the “Decoding The Media Handbook” (Again, the material seems random and confusing ).
The IFC Handbook’s Terms section states: “In this section we’ll highlight some of the most commonly-used catchphrases, buzzwords and insider lingo used by corporate and independent media interests alike. These terms run the gamut from examples of coded language used by the political and pundit class, to notable terms any driver on the information super highway should definitely know.” What do Chattering Class, Climate Change, Death Tax, Redistribution of Wealth and Guest Worker have in common? They are all on the IFC Media Terms “Watch What They [Media] Say” list.
The web site describes the 2nd episode as focused “on ethics in journalism.” They ask, “When is it ‘ok’ (or not ‘ok’) for reporters to cross the line, in the name of pursuing a story? When do the rules on free speech come into play? The feature segment takes an in-depth look at the case of Muntander Al-Zaidi, the Iraqi journalist arrested in December 2008 for throwing his shoes at President George W. Bush during a press conference in Iraq.”
Who knows? If the 5 Episodes are good, maybe the site will end up with more than one post– “gmanLovesFilm’s” comment– in the “Fan Forum.” GmanLovesFilms has learned the hard way what we have long known at StinkyJournalism. Media ethics, unlike gossip and action films is a lonely field.