Bullied Part IV


Stephanie DonaldFor the fourth in this series of articles we need to look at how the media contribute the overall psychology of society’s bent toward bullying. It’s bad enough when you’ve televangelists and politicians who maximize the use of “the tube” and print media to essentially brainwash the public into thinking that black is white and white is black but when the press itself that’s supposed to be impartial and unimpeachable approaches news story simply on the virtue of how well it will stimulate newspaper sales and how many viewers they have.

Until the mid-1970s the business of news was not really a business at all. News was its own world and not really expected to make huge profits.

The three major television networks (CNN, MSNBC and Fox didn’t exist back then so only CBS, ABC and NBC were the only television networks with news) had very little advertising and what advertising they did have was “hands off” as far as news content. The advertising was usually sold as part of a package deal that involved national products that would play at certain hourly times regardless of programming during non-prime time hours. During the hours of 5 A.M. until 8 P.M. (non-prime time hours) the product advertising would play at the “block time” when specified such as on the hour, quarter past the hour, half-past the hour, forty-five minutes past the hour, etc.

It didn’t matter if you were watching a soup opera, Dialing for Dollars or the news. The same advertising was repeated all during those hours and of course the networks tried as hard as they could to come up with programming that would impact as strongly as possible in the Nielson Ratings, which was “God” as far as which network had the most viewers.

The one thing that was the same for all three networks: Everyone lost money on the news division. It was expected and no one panicked over it because it was a fact of life. The cost of keeping news crews in the White House Press Corps, on the campaign trails, covering stories wherever they might happen cost a lot of money. The networks didn’t care about the loss; they only cared that their news department was number 1 in the Nielson Ratings.

Print newspapers made money but usually not an extreme amount. The majority of money they made was from circulation and subscriber payments. They prided themselves on reliability, accuracy and truthfulness. They also went out of their way to make sure there was a distinct line in all stories between impartial news and opinion editorial pieces (op-ed).

In the mid-1970s the lines began to skew dangerously and management teams came under demand to make money with news, both for print and television, at any and all cost. The age of “dim-pretty boys” for network anchors was born and news for the print media began to slant in the most dangerous way as advertisers were allowed, for the first time, to influence the content of the newspapers in order to generate more revenue.

The face of news became radically altered but the “myth” of a “liberal press” was something that had been born upon a long-dead concept of stories such as Edward R. Murrow’s expose of Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-MN.) and the House Un-American Activities Committee of the 1950s and the Washington Post reporters Woodward and Bernstein’s continuing expose of the Watergate scandal about the Nixon administration which has stuck in the craw of the conservatives for close to 40 years.

But that’s ancient history. Nowadays, the aim of media is sell, sell, sell; at any cost and capitalizing on the fears and “hot-button” issues is how the media does that.

Since the public has been conditioned to be sympathetic toward police, when a police officer gets killed then that’s an instant way to sell the public. If the police officer got killed because he was involved in criminal activity then that’s something to keep quiet and on the back page. Murder: Front page. Law enforcement being involved in criminal activity: Back page.

If a heterosexual male is accused of molesting an underage child then that’s a local news story but if a gay male gets accused of molesting an underage child then its national news.

Heterosexual pedophile: Local news. Homosexual pedophile: National news.

The reason is that it ignites the old Anita Bryant “Save Our Children” axiom that homosexuals are trying to recruit your children. It recently happened to the director of an LGBT center in Enid, Oklahoma. Although the director showed incredibly poor judgment in the entire situation, this wasn’t exactly a “rape” situation. The boy in question had been making advances to the center director for quite some time and when they started making out he panicked and the director stopped. It should have been something that went no further but the boy decided to extort money out of him and when the director refused he reported the incident to his parents who then went to the police.

Instant national news.

However, when you get a loud-mouthed anti-gay preacher, such as the Reverend Grant Storms, from New Orleans, who yells and screams about the immoral acts of homosexuals and then gets arrested as he masturbates while watching little children play in a park, that’s something that the mainstream media really doesn’t think is worthy of addressing on the nightly news or Associated Press doesn’t carry on their wire services.

The sides of this issue are like the counterpoints in a melody written by some insane song writer. Instead of history being re-written by the victor; our current events are being censored as we live them and only websites like Unicorn Booty.com or LGBT-Today (along with several others) are providing some of the hidden news you can’t find in the mainstream news.

Even Lisa Keen’s news service is so horribly mainstream for a supposedly LGBT service that all we see are stories that explain the blatantly obvious and never the nuance of what we would truly like or need to know. Keeping track of Keen News Service is like waiting for the next note to come in The Beatles “She’s So Heavy”. If you’re stoned enough then if that note comes you’ll fall off your chair when it does sound but Lisa never proceeds to the next measure of the concert and you sit there wondering what happened to the rest of the song.

Since most people function according to what news they can find and don’t go “digging” like Unicorn Booty or I do, then they tend to believe the short-sighted and hot-button issues they do get served up like eating macaroni and cheese every night for dinner, never knowing that they might be able to find something else for dinner.

This sort of media funneling of news is a type of bullying in and of itself. It adds fuel to the fires ignited by hate groups such as Westboro Baptist Church and the Reverend Fred Phelps who can hold up the Enid, Oklahoma incident as hardcore proof that all homosexuals are pedophiles when in fact the situation was an isolated incident of poor judgment and blackmail.

Keen News Service might as well be reprinting Associated Press news stories with a slight twist toward the LGBT community because there is almost nothing original about those stories and anyone could write them from gleaning facts by reading the New York Times, The Washington Post and White House and Congressional press releases.

America's ShameI can understand Lisa Keen’s lack of money to pay writers because I have the same problem myself but she could take the time to write editorials, research stories and put time into releasing news bits to Facebook, Twitter, Google Buzz, Digg, Stumbleupon, MySpace, and other social sites to get news pieces out that she didn’t write but are informative. Lisa wants to make her news service a Xerox copy of Associated Press which she formerly worked for but she doesn’t have the funds or the advertising to pay for. I wish her luck but in today’s news world, even advertisers want something for nothing and they won’t touch you until you have 500,000 regular readers and the LGBT community is, shall we say, extremely fickle.

When all is said and done we have to peel the layers back to see what the biggest issues that are destroying the LGBT society from both the inside and the outside and the one answer that comes back every time is bullying.

It’s not just a problem in our community; it infests every person in our society in every aspect of our lives. Open a newspaper and you see bullying. Turn on a television and you see bullying. Go to work and you are either bullying someone or getting bullied yourself or both at the same time. Bullying exists within the family structure because when a husband or wife comes home from work and hears it all day they give it back to their spouse and children. The children hear it from their parents and bully their siblings and friends.

Children go to school and are bullied when they get searched for weapons going into school. The teachers bully their students all days with threats of arrest, suspension or expulsion at the most insignificant remark. The children have unbelievable pressure placed on them to perform at school even though everyone knows, including the parents, that less than 1% of them will ever get into college now due to the overwhelming costs involved. Those costs themselves are indications of economically bullying.

The United States has fallen into last place in education in developed nations. This is not my opinion but facts and figures from the United Nations. How did this happen? We bullied school boards nationwide into cutting their budgets so far that by the time children graduate high school now their equivalent education is less than a 6th grader received 35 years ago. A person receiving a Bachelor’s degree today knows less than a high school graduate knew in 1973. A person receiving a Master’s degree today knows less than high school graduate did in 1965.

Our society is falling into shambles and the cause: Bullying.
By Stephanie Donald
© LGBT-Today

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