Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Reality Check/Project Energy

A long running feature on WCCO-TV is the "Reality Check" segment, in which WCCO political reporter Pat Kessler turns a gimlet eye on statements made by certain politicians, political ads, etc. Over the years he has been much more skeptical of Republican claims than DFL claims; this is hardly surprising, given the proclivities of the WCCO newsroom and the Twin Cities in general. Kessler is especially fond of skewering political ads. He will run portions of an ad, highlighting a particular claim, then superimposing his high-pitched yet stentorian voice and a transgressive red graphic over the ad's image, saying "THIS IS FALSE."

Oddly, however, he has not turned his attention to a politically charged ad campaign that regularly makes false claims - the anti-smoking MPAAT campaign. Lately it has been running ads claiming that 38,000 people die from second hand smoke every year. Yet, as we've discussed in this space before, they are seemingly unable to find anyone from the state of Minnesota to feature in their ads. If 38,000 people were dying every year, it would be reasonable to surmise that you could find at least a dozen people in the Twin Cities metro alone who are meeting this fate. But it never happens. I wonder why Kessler doesn't ask this question....

Meanwhile, there's been an amazing disconnect between the sponsors of the WCCO newscast and the material contained in the newscasts, especially recently. For the past 7-10 days WCCO has pounding its audience with the "Project Energy" series, a jeremiad designed to shame its viewers for their profligate energy use. This coverage has been tendentious, one-sided and economically illiterate. Oddly enough, the series is evidently sponsored by Hummer. In fact, gas guzzling automobiles account for well over half of the ads that run during the WCCO newscast. It's an amazing disconnect, especially since Hummers, as the most visible icon of horrible yuppie excess, are advertised nearly every night. You would think that a crusading news organization that is attempting to educate us about our profligate ways would refuse, as a matter of principle, the filthy monies of Hummer marketers. But you would be wrong.

4 comments:

Execu-bot said...

"You would think that a crusading news organization that is attempting to educate us about our profligate ways would refuse, as a matter of principle, the filthy monies of Hummer marketers. But you would be wrong."

I would think they are a business, concerned about income from advertizers. -But that may be just me. : )

Weatherman at WKARE said...

There is no way a liberal news organization will provide two sides of the story. What else explains threats to the morning weatherman at 11-KARE when he poo-poos "global warming" based on his meteoroligical training, especially since liberals were warning about "global cooling" in the early seventies. Huh?

Mark said...

Hey execu-bot,

Give yourself a cigar. I find it amusing.

Mark said...

Hey weatherman at wkare,

Good post! I'll tell you what explains it - it's not about SCIENCE, it's about scientism. There are always a helluva lot of people who try to use their specialized training and expertise as a way to take control over people's lives. And if the morning weatherman at KARE is getting threats, it's for the same reason that Salman Rushdie has a death threat over his head - you can never challenge the orthodoxy.