Friday, November 28, 2014

Stale Black Friday, (Again)

 Black Friday presents an annual birthday present to lazy newsrooms across the country to deliver us artificial content, such sheep we've become.

It's a stale, largely irrelevant event; manufactured news really. There was a time that the day-after Thanksgiving shopping day was reported on by the masses and it was legitimate news--a show of force by consumers looking to get great deals and the retailers pulling out all the stops and deal to entice shoppers. Great. Good visuals. The start of the holiday season. Live shots galore at the local Macys and eager beaver people grabbing the hundred dollar 62-inch flat screen. Convenient for the assignment editor  and reporter too looking for glue after the all-night turkey feast.

No, Black Friday is a certified joke. It's a caricature of itself. It also is, once again, a made-up buffoonery that is an artificial element of the American economy. Even so, our fake media brethren are all too giddy to take part and be there at the shopping center to join in the November circus.

This is what you're going to get Black Friday. The predictable MOS live shot in Walnut Creek at the suburban white shopping mall. It beats the insanity at the less-desirable Walmart because young-white cheesy teeth are better demos for the sales dept. You get standard faire questions: "How much did you spend?" --"How does it feel to be out here?" Blah, blah, blah. You can pretty much keep every MOS on file and use it every year. It NEVER changes. It is reliably stale.

Black Friday has become enough of a phenomena that if news operations failed to cover it, then it would be met with universal scorn like, How Dare You! I'd love to see that. Would it kill a TV station to merely offer a two-minute quick report? Hardly. It would be refreshing and bold. It would require that the TV station then have to report real, actual news. Black Friday isn't anything newsy anymore just a hodgepodge of less-than-appealing modern Americana at its worst. That's not unpatriotic that's just the facts.

Today your all-encompassing TV/Radio media will be on holiday itself putting forth sloppy seconds. They don't have the creative force nor girth to provide anything unique or different--in a way they've become like the crazed morons who spend the night freezing in sleeping bags outside to buy 4-buck smart phone. Dummies. There is no there there. But why be so obvious? Because they don't have a plan.

They could comb the AP wire and look for some real stuff. But they're lazy. They could send a reporter to the mayor's office and ask about that $5000 junket to Hawaii back in October, and you know what? That would be some really good TV! Who the hell needs to see another MOS outside some antique store in Emeryville when they could see some politician getting squeezed! But that would require thought and creativity --basic tenets of good TV reporting just closed for business on stale Black Friday.

I don't bemoan the holiday spirit. I'm not some retail scrooge and I understand the excitement of post-Thanksgiving shopping. It's a rush; an adrenaline missile from the last stuffing of pumpkin pie last night, but in its most purest form it is not a TV event, a social-cause celeb as it has been portrayed on the TV news cycle. It should be covered, indeed, but not as the news force it has artificially become courtesy of national news and local affiliates.

People, you deserve better. You're being force-fed a football-field size of visual minutiae--are you that gullible? Maybe all of this you like and expect. Maybe you're just cynical like those news mangers who just dish it out and are incapable of serving up anything fresh. Pass the stuffing, it's stale Black Friday.

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  1. When we used to have real talk radio, one of my pet peeves was when a host (Lowenstein comes to mind) around this time of year would declare: "today is a slow news day, let's lighten things up". It always drove me crazy. As if Black Friday consumerism suddenly brought peace on earth. Has anyone else heard the news from Ferguson? The national guard has been deployed to all the big malls because god forbid a protest might interfere with the sheep buying junk...we are doomed!!!

    1. Ronn would say that as an excuse to not work hard. How come Ronn Owens didn't maintain his audience if he didn't change time slots, if he's in fact good?

  2. WalMart workers are striking!

  3. They won't dare question Black Greedday, because they fear they might lose sponsors. They are told to keep the coverage upbeat and smile smile SMILE.

    Personally, I puked and turned the news off. They talk about how under the Soviets Russians had government-controlled TV that only broadcast one very narrow view of the world. We have the same thing here exactly, only our TV is controlled by the fat-cat advertisers. End result is the same. America is really just privatized Communism anymore.

  4. That's why I put on my Steely Dan record, Rich. Nothing stale about Fagen & Becker.

    1. I think someone should get you a calendar for Christmas.

  5. Rich, you forget that the Friday after Thanksgiving is considered a holiday. That means government offices are closed, so there isn't really much political news to report--which is what people typically mean when they say "real" news. Not much is happening other than people shopping. so news agencies report what is happening, which is people shopping. You got it?

  6. Hey diddle diddle
    Sucking on that turkey bone while sitting in the middle.
    Why call it Black Friday? Why not call it Day of the Peasant or Peasant’s Day. The day when all the serfs come out in their Phrygian caps to lock themselves into mortal combat with their fellow tribe members. Battling over inferior products made with the hands of slave labor in a foreign land. Being charge a price that is marked up over a thousand percent even when the slave master claims that it is on sale.

    Reporting on Black Friday events is like a bold commercial stating that we are all trapped in an institutionalized matrix where all commerce is evolving into impersonal exchanges with zero benefits or productivity gains for society.

    I guess you could call it one big hoax. Maybe even a sick joke. It’s sort of on the comparable level to the Dihydrogen Monoxide hoax. Easily solved with a bit of research coupled with few minutes of critical thinking. But why think? When you can feel and react to the world in which you live in. Oh but wait! Even that takes too much effort. It’s much easier to live as a Ro-Lang in the land of plenty sucking on turkey bones while shoving and grabbing whatever is in your way.

  7. Rich's post says it well. And here's another holiday news cliche that bugs me: Every year, just before Thanksgiving or Christmas, there will inevitably be lousy enough weather in the East to cause cancelled or severely delayed airline flights in the West. So, predictably, field reporters will dash to SFO and do two things: show us a wide shot of a crowded waiting area and then have a few individuals come on camera to tell us, in excruciating detail, about their woes in getting from Point A to Point B. It's the same thing every year. Every year. I feel sorry for Fred from Foster City whose flight to Grandma's house in Osh Kosh has been delayed for four hours, but the details I don't need. Don't send reporters to SFO; just stay in the newsroom, tell me that snow over there has gummed up flight departures and arrivals over here, and I'll figure out that travelers will be upset.