Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Is this news?

This has been on my mind of late, and tonight one of my local news stations did it again.

I'm talking about this particular station's tendency to run long feature stories or profiles on religion or matters of the Christian faith. There is a definite bias to the Christian faith in these stories. Tonight there was a considerably lengthy piece on NBC's show, "The Revelations" based on the book of Revelation at the end of the Bible. Apparently this will be a series of reports. Tomorrow: Should Christians avoid this show?

I have not watched this program at all so have no comments on it other than to roll my eyes when I see the "s" at the end of "Revelations." Maybe they were concerned about copyright matters?

But it DOES bother me that our NEWS (KFOR-TV, channel 4 in Oklahoma City) station would spend a hefty amount of its NEWS period covering these issues in the manner in which they are being presented. Kevin Ogle is the "reporter" on these stories and there is no question in my mind that he is presenting these topics because they align with his own personal religious beliefs. I know Kevin is a man of faith.

Add to this periodic features about miracles (one happened to follow the "Revelations" report this evening, which punctuates this matter.) These have included stories on people who were saved from burning automobiles by "angels" who disappear after performing a rescue, among others. Tonight, it was about the "miracle" of an infant who was born weighing only 11 ounces who has managed to survive longer than expected.

Please don't get me wrong. I am a huge believer in miracles, and if you've read my blog in the past, you will know that. My beef is the inordinant amount of time given to these types of stories during an already tight newscast. There's an awful lot of news that we're not hearing about from this station because of the time devoted to these features.

Another feature Kevin has added to the KFOR roster is a "man on the street" thing called "The Rant." Apparently Kevin tosses out a topic and solicits comments from the public via e-mail or phone, and then these are presented as part of this same late-night newscast.

Come on, people. It is NEVER that slow a news day, anywhere. KFOR-TV used to be known for the quality of its newscasts. It's won a number of Emmy Awards in the past as well as other broadcasting awards.

This is particularly sticky because the local newspaper has also increased its reportage on matters of faith and religion. But this doesn't bother me nearly as much because I see it as an addition to, rather than a replacement for, news coverage. That 35 minutes KFOR devotes to the news broadcast is finite. A newspaper can add pages or a section if the owner and management chooses to.

The lack of diversity in this sort of coverage is also disturbing. I think it will be a long, long time before we see this or any other local station giving equivalent time to a Muslim story of faith, don't you?


Erudite Redneck said...

I don't think a single TV station in OKC has a news department worth a damn. Weather, yep. There is not a newsman among 'em, though, IMHO. I think when they work so hard to get here from Fort Smith or Wichita Falls or wherever, tjey just coast. P.U. on 'em all.

CrystalDiggory said...

I remember awhile back (quite awhile actually) watching a local OK "news" show spend several minutes of air time telling viewers how to drive down a dirt road so as not to stir up a lot of dust and get your car dirty. FYI, you do it S-L-O-W-L-Y. I think they thought their viewers were morons, because that's certainly how they talked to them. I think that's when I quit watching local TV news.

Fladnag said...

My pet peeve about the news broadcasts is when they advertise that an interesting story is coming up on the next newscast. Then during the news it is always coming up after this break, and when it finally airs at the end of the show, it is just a little short reference to it.

Do you remember the Fan Wars a few years ago. One station started taking donations of box fans to help needy people make it through the hot summer. The next year another station started doing it too. Then a year or so later all the stations were talking about how their station was the first one to start collecting them.

Trixie said...

Oh yes! And let's not forget coat drives in the winter, or the campaigns for food drives...