Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bear-ly Reenacting the News

When you think Cleveland, Ohio, I'm going to guess you don't think 'bears'. I think of Cleveland as a place where you can shop for clothing and have at least 50% of your selections to choose from be sports apparel. But I still don't think 'bears'. I'm going to think 'bears' now, however. I'm also going to be thinking that Fox News seems to believe it caters to a target audience in the 4-5 year old range of viewers and is now gearing the newscast segments toward those children.

The Fox News affiliate in Cleveland, Fox8, did a piece back around June 25, 2009 about a black bear that had made its way into a northeast Ohio neighborhood and had been sighted by several residents. Since there are hardly ever bears in Cleveland, this is definitely a news story. However, it would appear that what is also a news story is that you can produce a news story for television with a) very little experience in doing so, b) the skills of a kindergartner and c) very little hesitation in airing the piece (which resembles that done for a class project...that you'll end up getting a "C" on) on actual television.

The segment starts off harmlessly enough, with a woman talking about how she called 911 after spotting a bear in her wooded yard. The reporter, a one Todd Meany, is narrating and after only about 12 seconds, you hear a sentence that indicates great hilarity will be ensuing shortly. He says, "Nina was too stunned to get a picture, but here's what the bear probably looked like...except real." And with that the viewer sees a cardboard cut-out shaped like a bear, propped up next to a tree in the woods. Good Lord people. Behold!

Well, you can barely (pun probably intended) see what that is. Are we sure that it's....

Oh. So it really is a cardboard cutout of a bear. Sort of a stand-in for the real bear which was unavailable for the filming of this segment. While I find this highly amusing, it's also a tad bit disturbing. Next thing you know, we'll be getting rid of the weather forecasters and just having some sort of cut-out ladybug on the wall wearing a raincoat if it's going to rain or watering flowers if it's going to be sunny. Why not get rid of all of the newshole newscasters as well?! We'll have the South Park kids read the news. They're cutouts. Sort of.

And while I'm sure it's hard to imagine, it actually gets better after the first shot of the reenactment bear. You can't just recreate the bear without explaining what it is that the bear might have done! Thus, you guessed it, we are then treated to seeing how the bear might have ran if it were real and if it were there.

Amazing. I'll hand it to Todd. That's pretty gutsy. It's not like there isn't video technology available to recreate what a bear running through a forest looks like!

But then there's this woman that shows up, a one Carly Martin. She is very excited to have found some ursine defecation! (Translation: Bear poop.) Oh! But not just any ursine defection. Fresh ursine defecation! Probably still warm. I'm sure she checked it.

So while she is explaining that bears are capable of climbing trees, our friend the cardboard bear makes another appearance, this guessed it! Climbing a tree. Behold!
Man, the worse it gets, the funnier it gets. Holy canoli. So we have cutout bears running, cutout bears climbing trees, a crazy naturalist talking about bear excrement. Man, if there's one thing this story needs right about now, it's a guy dressed up in a giant rabbit costume. Behold!

For reasons that are inexplicable, the large rabbit fellow there came on the screen as they were telling the viewer that bears do not want to eat humans or other creatures. Which makes perfect sense. Whenever I'm explaining the food chain of a particular animal, I always break out and don the big bunny costume to really hammer home my point. (And if I actually did that, my point would be that I'm insane.)

As our naturalist explains to us, "We'll get a report of a bear, you know, it's at this part of the river one day. And then it moves on. And moves on. And moves on. And then....we don't hear about it for a year or two." So this "bear" of which you speak, it...moves? On it's own? Repeatedly, you say? Hmmm. Interesting. It's almost like it's a regular living creature and of course it freaking moves!

The video of this child-like, yet extremely amusing bear re-enactment is below. No cardboard bears were harmed during the filming of the reenactment.

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