Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Channel 19/43 Banned by NEOCH

Clean Up Your Ethics before You Call

This is not new news, but the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless has long ago stopped talking to Channel 19 and 43. We have made fun of them for three months on this blog, but there is a serious side to the harm caused by this tabloid style broadcast. They call people punks, perverts and thugs on their newscast every night before these people are tried or sometimes even charged. For example, those evil young people who beat to death a homeless person in Ft. Lauderdale were identified as punks. NEOCH staff would never defend these young monsters, but we are certainly not neutral on the matter. The news and news people are the Fourth estate of government, and are observers to society, crime, and government. They are the neutral observers who are instructed to treat suspects as innocent until proven guilty. What if the police had arrested the wrong person? Would Channel 19 apologize for calling these young people punks and thugs? How do you make it up to someone for labeling them a pervert to millions in error? As much as we were not big fans of some of the things that went on in the previous administration, the treatment of the previous Mayor was wrong and inappropriate. It is voyeurism that we know we should not look at, but can't help it. It is the Jerry Springer Circus pretending to do news. There is no way that any self-respecting journalist could work for this outfit.

Anyway, NEOCH long ago banned Channel 19/43 from our weekly press release list. We do not e-mail or call their reporters, and today we have decided not to respond to calls from their reporters. Somehow, they found out about the Symeon Hurt memorial and showed up. We did not invite them, but they came anyway. It would have been inappropriate to turn them away at such a somber event. We could not stand them always making out homeless people to be criminals, sex offenders, and the root of all our city's problems. That older Foghorn Leghorn guy who does crazy commentary rants about how unsafe the downtown is because of homeless people contributed to our position on Channel 19. Certainly, Jimmy Olsen making up news stories has contributed to us banning the station.

Today, a self-identified "news reporter" called seeking comment on the Convention Center evictions. We ignored the call. I talked to the Plain Dealer, Channel 5/ONN, Free Times, and Fox today, but we have decided to ignore any tabloid entertainment outlets. There are many who would say that any publicity is good for the cause. The problem is that the TV outlets have a great deal of power, and very little opportunity for democracy. They do not have a "letter to the editor" section. They do not have any feedback mechanism, and the FCC has not removed a television station's license since...well...never. Fairness is out the door, and with Channel 19 standards and ethics are out the door. They can edit a comment to make the person look like an idiot, and TV is not a venue for deep thinking.

So, no matter how it harms the cause we will no longer respond or talk to any reporter from any news operation practicing tabloid style news. We are not going to help you beat up on people already struggling to find space in our society.



Post a Comment

<< Home