Wednesday, October 8, 2008

12-Step Program Needed

I have a problem. I really do.

I am addicted to two things. The news, and being angry.

I think I've just realized, this very morning, that this problem is tearing my life apart. I mean, I have a busy day, I have five classes -- all solo, no Korean teacher -- and a huge presentation I have to prepare by Friday where I attempt to teach Nathanel Hawthorne to 9th Graders. And yet, I find myself compelled to blog. I used to make fun of people who did that all the time, and now, I am one of them...

Anyway, the situation that has me riled up this morning was what I caught on the Washington Post website. I clicked on what I presumed was a news story about the debate (hoping to learn what day it would air) and I was treated to someone's blog.

Now, I don't think I'm stupid, probably. One would assume that the big headlines are news stories, and not someone's blog. I started reading and found out that the big question tonight is whether or not Obama is "ready to lead". And how unscripted moments might ruin Obama's career. But not McCain's? Oh, I get it. This is opinion.

I'm not opposed to blogs on news websites (I'm definitely not in favor of them though. What's the point?) but this is...I feel tricked. I think the responsible thing to do was to make it unambigiously clear that what I was clicking on was a blog, someone's opinion (unfounded or not) on what the debate tonight would be about. (Really? The big question is whether or not Obama's fit to lead? McCain hasn't even asked that in a while.)

This is irresponsible of WaPo, and furthermore, unnecessary. I think the story about releasing prisoners from Gitmo is still more important than the debate. Anyway, here's what the page looked like at the time I saw it:

Some things to notice. First, that ad is huuuuge isn't it? The top of this image represents the absolute top part of the actual newspaper. That is to say, I cut off the links at the top. "Nashville Faceoff" was what I clicked on. Not the absolute top story, but pretty close. Notice the story about the prisoners, ranked third by my count, at the bottom of the page.

I don't want to start accusing people of "pushing agendas" but directing traffic towards a pro-McCain blog as opposed to any number of real news stories is deplorable. I take it seriously because only a small number of Americans choose to read more than one news source, and sometimes one paper is all they get (if that).

The more I think on this, the angrier I get. The blog is unabashedly biased. It belongs somewhere in the back of the newspaper, not the front page.

For comparison, NYTimes:

More or less the same format. Ads are a little smaller. That picture brings you to a link that isn't a blog, by the way. Can I say, on asthetics alone, both those pictures suck?

Annnnd, for funsies, here's Fox News. I didn't find anything about the prisoners in Gitmo, but admittedly it's hard to search through that hodgepodge down there at the bottom (NYTimes has this same problem all over its pages). Pictured: Cheerleaders. Top story: Debate. Next: Economy. Way to go Fox News.
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