Satire Alert: I hate to ruin this with a warning up front, but the guys at corporate possess an underdeveloped funny bone and have no eye for satire. (That means it’s a joke with a lesson.) I feel it necessary to warn them.
Everybody has a Bucket List — that enumerated log of wishes they’d like to accomplish before they seek the great beyond. Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane with a bed sheet strapped to their back. Sucking-face with a supermodel. Trudging up the face of a mountain without falling off and ending the pursuit and the list early.
I fancy myself a bird-in-the-hand guy — a realist. I’m more concerned with what I do than what I might — one day, given the correct circumstances, unlimited money, and a death wish — be frightened into trying.
That said, (and with deference to Maddog for coining the phrase and giving birth to this idea) I give to you Turd’s News ShitBucket List: a list of things I would rather die a slow tortuous death than ever be forced to endure again.
10) Interview Another Politician (even the president) People always think it must be great being a journalist and having the opportunity to rub elbows with the pretty and the powerful. It aint. They don’t listen to the questions. Then they refuse to answer them. No offense to the good man from the Round-The-Way District, I’d just rather hang on the corner with Pookie and Ray-Ray. That’s where real wisdom resides.
9) The Walk to Nowhere So, Henrietta Housewife just testified before the Senate Arms committee. She wants insurance to cover the surgical removal of her left arm so that it doesn’t go numb when sleeps on her side. Now the news crew needs video to tell her story. No need to fear, for Henrietta still has two good legs which the crew can exploit to walk her past the capital a dozen times. Instant video! But who’s story does it tell? To me it says more about the crew that wouldn’t follow Ms. Housewife back to her home to watch her practice single-armed sweeping or one-handed dinner preparation than Henrietta’s plea for a hand up. And when you get right down to it, that kind of video is staging in it’s purest form.
8) Attend Another Ribbon-Cutting, Dirt-Turning, or Check-Passing Sure, the gigantic scissors, shiny shovels, and over-sized promissory note make for neat props, but the real purpose of these time-fillers is to get politician faces on television. In which case please refer to item #10.
7) Shoot Another Traffic Story We get it. Traffic is bad. It’s bad everywhere. And it’s only getting worse. If I get another morning rush hour story handed to me after the morning commute, I just may opt to end this game early.
6) Enter Another Exam Room With A FancyCam Health reporting! It’s a staple of the middle block of the early news. And I can tell you what every story looks like. Open with a patient at home popping pills or maybe exercising. Cut to soundbyte. Cut to doctor walking down hall. Doctor grabs chart and opens exam room door. Doctor checks vitals. Cut to new drug. Cut to stand-up. It’s a function of having to produce health news when there really isn’t much new, but we gotta feed the beast. I’ve got no solutions. I just don’t wanna do it again.
5) Another Movie Premier (with or without stars) What exactly is the news value of showcasing costumed adults standing in line to see Revenge of the Kentucky Fried Movie? Account Executives down at the station charge a pretty penny for publicity like that. Unless one of the Gorgs slays High Priestess Fellatia with the Spork of Virility, is it really news? (Same goes for folks camping out to shop, buy tickets, or use the pisser.)
4) Report LIVE From A Closet Sure, the TV station owns a fleet of big, fancy trucks(that’s code for bucket of rust) with state-of-the-art electronics (from the Carter Administration) for which it must justify the repair budget, but that’s no reason to go LIVE from the dark and empty scene of last week’s pizza-pie burglary. Viewers have figured it out. It’s old news. It’s not urgent. We’re pissing on their feet and telling them it’s raining, and we wonder why they don’t want to watch.
3) Report LIVE From The Newsroom/Other Side of the Studio You really think this is any better?
2) Shoot Another Fake Protest Nothing attracts cameras like a homemade sign and a bullhorn. Protests used to mean something. Rosa Parks’ refusal to do as she was told helped usher in the Civil Rights movement. People with peace signs and psychedelic drugs helped change the nation’s view of Viet Nam. Today, before the first sign is printed, somebody is focus-grouping soundbytes and slogans. And that “spontaneous” gathering of like-minded, concerned citizens is carefully choreographed for maximum television impact. Don’t believe me? Drive by the next demonstration you hear about before the cameras get there. You won’t find much bluster. But when the cameras arrive, you’ll find enough hot air to send Al Gore to DEFCON 5. After the cameras leave, so will the crowd. It’s a show. And we fall for it every time. My solution? Show up half-an-hour late. If the protesters are still there, they get facetime for endurance if nothing else.
1) Attend Another Public Body Meeting The only thing worse than interviewing a politician is watching a whole group of them in action. Most public bodies are theater of the absurd. (The more important the the group, the less real work actually happens at the meeting.) Sure, the decisions ratified at these dog and pony shows are important. Those decisions impact our lives, daily. Trouble is, most of the decisions are made in a non-smoke-filled room (No smoking in public buildings — it’s a state law.) long before Madam Chairwoman ever smacks her mallet on the desk and calls things to order. What happens in the meeting room is solely for our benefit.
Real journalism takes place far from the bright lights of the meeting room. Real journalism is sifting through neglected records, deflecting spin, digging below the surface to unearth truth rather than a good soundbyte. It’s blowing past the suits lining up at the podium and finding the folks who are really important — the ones effected by whatever the suits are babbling about. Real journalism tells the story of real people and hits them where they live.
Now, I hope you’ll stay tuned for my walk-and-talk live shot from an empty capital where, earlier today, costumed activists demanded their concerns be taken seriously while politicians inside debated breaking ground on a new interstate system to improve your commute to the doctor’s office for that arm removal you’ve been wanting.