Thursday, January 29, 2009

"The Media"

Let me start by saying that many of us have a take on “The Media”. This is a very nebulous term. It encompasses many genres and institutions. In today’s society, the majority of “media” is focused on entertainment. Why? Easy…It sells! You need advertising revenue to make money. The “media” institutions need to make money. Whether it is a newspaper, a nightly news broadcast, a magazine show, or a myriad of other media venues, they deliver their appropriate manna to feed their particular audience’s appetite. Don’t get me wrong. There are journalists out there. I’ve met a few. Sandy Cummings and Keith Morrison of NBC are genuine, to name two. Let me digress for a second, and I appreciate your patience.
I personally discovered the art of journalism through Vietnam. In college and medical school, I had a fascination with the trauma and polarity that the Vietnam Conflict inflicted on our society. I studied some of this through the correspondents that covered the war with “boots on the ground”. Halberstam, Sheehan, and Herr to name a few. William Prochnau’s “Once Upon a Distant War” is a must read for those who appreciate the art of journalism. The ethos of journalism can not be more exemplified by the writings of these individuals. I would also recommend the portfolio book “Requiem”. This book is a tribute to the fallen photo journalists who covered Vietnam and Indochina for the pubic. They did this so they could witness the reality they were supporting.
I came to love the art and ethics of journalism through these, and many other works. Unfortunately, I was a bit naïve from my self-study. I became easily swayed by an individual claiming to stand by and for journalistic integrity. Our first experience, with CBS, dispersed my basic assumptions and left me the fool. Once. Never twice.
Let me give you an example. Just one for this post: although there are many. I do, indeed, have many but this one is so classic tabloid. During the CBS broadcast of “48 Hours Mystery” concerning my wife, the producers decided to use a picture of my wife in the broadcast. This particular photograph was of her naked. The used it multiple times, as I understand (Disclaimer: I have not seen any of these programs about my wife. Why should I? I sat through the entire trial and know all the details of the case). The problem with this is that this photograph was stolen. Stolen how? Well here is the kicker. It was stolen from the State of Alaska. See… this picture wound up in the State’s property, which is a story I can’t go into here. However, this picture was not introduced as discovery.
What does that mean? Good question. It means that the picture was property of the State and not part of the public record. So how did “48 Hours Mystery” get it? Well here is the deal. They had to either illegally steal (redundant) it from State property, or the State illegally gave it to one of the producers. Illegal? Yes. However, something is only illegal if the State decides it wants to prosecute it. Does any one want to take a bet that the executive branch in Alaska cares about this illegal act? Again, the power of the State is absolute if no one cares what they do, legal or not.
For instance, prosecutor Pat Gullifsen feigned extreme mock indignation, during the trial, when we suggested that Ms. Laura Aspiotis perjured herself. “Perjury is a very serious crime…” stated Mr. Gullifsen. This was regarding the fact that Ms. Aspiotis had a journal entry regarding her viewing of “The Last Seduction” with her husband only. My question was this: if perjury was so serious to Mr. Gullifsen, then why didn’t he proceed with a criminal investigation regarding Mr. Lane Leppink and Mr. Ransom Leppink’s completely contradictory testimony? Again, exempli gratia, it is only a crime when the State wants it to be. It is a stacked deck, in that regard.
But I digress… the following post is the email exchange between Jupiter Entertainment and me. Not really an exchange, but it will shed some light on their attempts to fact check. Also, I won’t have to type everything again :)

1 comment:

Bmialone said...

Colin, it is too bad for the rest of us that you are so overburdened, leaving little time and energy for you to write more, because you are interesting, knowledgeable on many subjects, a critical thinker, and a good writer.

Even as I feel a knot in my stomach while reading your experiences and what you know the state of Alaska, media outlets, and members of your own community did to Mechele and your family, and even when rage hits me as it did over the photo of Mechele somehow ending up on TV when the state of Alaska was responsible for it, I'm interested in what you are writing.

Whether it is sharing your interest and thoughts on journalism or exposing the inconsistencies and bad behavior of our officials, what you write is interesting to read.

My spouse and I saw Mechele recently and she was telling us how very intelligent you are. I can see that she is right.