Friday, June 5, 2009

One of These Things is Not Like the Others

In continuation of my plight to bring attention to the craptastic quality of media reporting these daysI bring you this little gem which should serve to really highlight the problem and to ascertain that I'm really not making this stuff up, nor am I making too big of a deal about it.  It also can be used to highlight how many people are just absolutely oblivious to the obvious. And it's those same people who are immersing themselves within the world of news reporting and they don't have any clue as to how important that job is, nor do they care. Look, I'll show you.

Over yonder there at The Huffington Post, there's a little story about a newspaper in Pennsylvania called The Warren Times Observer. They don't seem to be very observant, as it would seem that they ran an ad in their print version of the paper which implied to support the assassination of President Barry. That's right. They ran the ad. Like a classified ad. You have to call them up or, in this case, go down to their office and tell them what you want the ad to say and they print it for you...even if you want to say that you hope that President Barry ends up like other Presidents who have been assassinated. Other US Presidents that have been assassinated. Sure! Print! 

Here's the ad as it appeared on Thursday:

And here's a close up of that same ad.

You can double click on those to make them bigger, by the way. But if you can't quite make out the text of the ad, allow me...It reads, "May Obama follow in the steps of Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy!" And they even included five stars above and below the message just to make sure that it catches people's attention. Now that's advertising!

Now, according to the publisher of the paper, a one John Elchert, "the newspaper's advertising staff didn't make the historical connection." Really? Look, I'm willing to cut anyone a little slack with Garfield and McKinley in there. If it had just been those two that President Barry was being compared to, I could give the moron in the classified ad department a break. I'd do it begrudgingly, but I'd do it. But come on! Lincoln?! Kennedy?! Did this person just think that the person placing the ad was hoping that President Barry would get a performance hall named after him? You know, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Obama Center. No? I don't think so either.

I'm a bit hesitant to call the person a complete moron, but I'm close! How does one not catch on to that?! First of all, it's a bit odd, the ad itself. I mean, usually the classified are full of ads for cars, lost kitties and 'massages' given by Asian women in downtown locations. Oh, and the phone sex numbers. 1-900-DIALPORN or something like that. (Wait.  Do they still have those?  I think they do, but do those folks make any money on that sort of venture these days? They're like $1.99 a minute. Hey, I've got unlimited Internet access and that means I have unlimited access to porn...with pictures! Why in the world would anyone pay $1.99 a minute to call a 1-900 number that contains no pictures? I don't get it. But hey, if they are making money off of it, more power to 'em!)

So the ad is a bit different. Wouldn't you ask what it meant? I don't think that's out of line. I realize that I tend to ask a lot of questions, but I don't think that, if you're in the classified department and you're helping someone run this ad, it wouldn't be out of the ordinary to say, "Oh, interesting. What does that mean exactly?" You could even go under the guise of thrift by saying, "What is the message you're trying to send? Maybe we could say it with less words and get you a cheaper rate on the ad!" Whatever. But to not inquire about something like that seems like the action of one who is a tad bit brain dead.

Anyway, Mr. Elchert said that "...the newspaper turned information over to police and that the Secret Service is investigating the person who placed the ad." Well, at least someone over there was able to figure out to do that! He also ran a little note in his paper on Friday which said that "...the newspaper "apologizes for the oversight." I see. Well, what did I expect? A picture on the front page of the person who was working that day being flogged by upper management? I'm not gonna lie, that woulda been nice! But really, I guess that's about what I expected.

I know that it was only the classified department. But this is a newspaper. The folks who work for newspapers are supposed to be observant. They're supposed to have a firm grasp on current events and a fairly decent knowledge of past events that aren't so current anymore. Even things like Presidents who were assassinated 144 years ago. Especially if it is the one President to whom our newest President has been compared to a few times! (That would be Lincoln to whom I am referring. Just thought I'd mention that in case anyone is scratching their head wondering when President Barry was ever compared to James A Garfield. By the way, that would be never. He has never been compared to James A. Garfield. And I doubt he ever will be.)

Ah, the newspaper. I'm really going to miss it when it finally succumbs to the cheapness and mass distribution power of the Internet. But at least then all of the morons who are ruining news media reporting will be in one place. We're probably safer that way. Dumber, though. We'll be a lot dumber without newspapers with accurate and informed reporting. But without newspapers, we won't have to worry about one of these crazy assassination implication advertisements sneaking past some dough head who happens to be working the classified desk that day. Whew! And I thought this was going to end horribly!

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