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Are Americans addicted to smutty stories from the media? Hot Conversation

 

Anthony Weiner

Anthony Weiner (credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

The BIG news the last few days has been Congressman Anthony Weiner’s confession that he sent messages and photos of a sexual nature to women online.  This followed his complete denial of any inappropriate behavior. Once again, the internet has exploded with the stories. If you type Anthony Weiner’s name intoThe Huffington Post search engine on June 7th, 2011… 1,280,000 links appear.

What does this tell us. I think it is yet another example of how the media believes that Americans are addicted to smut. Every time one of these stories appear, REAL news takes a back seat. Let’s take the last two days for example. Did anyone read the following stories?

Some nuclear power plants have not properly trained their workers about emergency guidelines intended to protect the public in the event of a severe accident or disaster, federal regulators said Monday

A group of economists made the case on Tuesday for raising the federal and state minimum wages across the country as a way to boost the stagnant economy and improve the standard of living among low-wage earners.

I think those stories are worth reading! These are things that affect most American lives. (I’m not convinced that the very wealthy care whether the average Joe gets a raise.)

I have a problem with the dumbing down of Americans by the media. Those of you who read me on a steady basis already know that.

My question is…How do we put an end to it?

 

Posted in Debi Drecksler, news.

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45 Responses

  1. Generic Image moongoddess says

    Another one caught in a snare.  It’s the best filter I can think of.  If someone in his position thinks they can get away with anything, then filters like this one is good.  He is ruined.  Even Clinton is a laughing stock after his little shenanigan.  There are consequences for his actions.  He’s no different.  It’s a great filter.

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    • Debi Drecksler Debi Drecksler says

      moongoddess…I remember a family member talking about how much she liked Clinton. I mentioned that I could not trust him again after he lied to the public about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. She answered, “That’s a silly reason not to like him!”

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      • Generic Image moongoddess says

        I wonder what the answer would have been if it was her husband.  NIMBYs
        Not In My Back Yard.  Just can’t understand that reasoning.  Can you?

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    • Debi Drecksler Debi Drecksler says

      Nope…But after that, I remained silent because I was in a room full of Clinton lovers!

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  2. ThurmanLady ThurmanLady says

    From what you say about the number of hits, I guess many are addicted to this stuff.  I know the story enough from the “bites” I’ve read: pictures, he lied, he told the truth, he thinks it’s nothing and won’t step down.  That’s enough for me, without actually reading an entire article.
     
    I did happen to miss the other stories you mentioned, but didn’t miss that unemployment is actually worse or that there’s a bill that’s going to take sales tax from internet purchases; the kind of stories that actually affect our lives. ♥

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    • Debi Drecksler Debi Drecksler says

      ThurmanLady…I think many Americans are addicted to stories like this AND stupid Reality Shows etc…It is like a drug…the more they get, the more they want!

      There are so many more important things to read and learn about. Thanks for mentioning a few of them!

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  3. Generic Image Stevie says

    Sorry, Debi, but I don’t buy your argument.  People were given the choice to read a story about an elected representative who is also an idiot and/or stories about raising minimum wage and proper training for power plant workers.  It wasn’t one or the other; all three were available to them.  Weiner’s story is not merely a smutty story.  It is a story about an elected official who was leading a double life, who engaged in a cover up of that life, who engaged in both juvenile and reprehensible behaviour, a man who displayed extremely poor judgment by engaging in this extremely bad behaviour, and a man who displayed an incredible lack of common sense – just another reckless politician prepared to risk everything for sex.  I think the voting public has a right to know that this is the real person behind the public persona.  Put a muzzle on the press and you keep the masses ignorant.  Who’s that going to serve at the end of the day?

    2 like

    • watermusic watermusic says

      The question is why these stories are news. One reason is that they are titillating and salacious. The other reason is that it does reflect on their character and poor judgment.  I want to know about it. Wiener and the rest of them could have prevented this by doing the right thing all along. If the press didn’t report it who would and what else would they be doing if they think they can get away with it?  
      That said, I do think the quality of news in America leaves somethint to be desired.

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      • Generic Image Stevie says

        I agree, watermusic.  I would add, though, that anyone who cares about quality news (responsible, reliable reportage) can easily find it.

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      • Generic Image moongoddess says

        So true.  It’s also because the Media throws it in our face over and over.  We can’t always turn it off.  An example of that is how they kept bringing up Charlie Sheen like they were beating a dead horse.  The media uses it to keep us interested and they dig up the dirtiest dirt they can.

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    • Debi Drecksler Debi Drecksler says

      Stevie…One of my concerns is the way these stories are reported, The internet has become like a gigantic National Enquirer. I just want the facts..that’s it!

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      • Generic Image Stevie says

        I don’t agree with you, Debi, that the Internet has become like a gigantic National Enquirer.  As noted above, responsible, reliable news reports are easily found online.  This particular story begged to be treated as something other than mainstream news.  It’s not every day that an elected official takes a close-up picture of his crotch and tweets it to all and sundry.  Whatever his current wailings of shame and regret alongside his refusal to resign, Weiner has handed the press a field day on a platter – kick me please.  “After all,” says the BBC, “posting pictures of one’s undergarments is the sort of thing you expect 12-year-olds to get up to, not rampant politicos.”  Others were not so kind.  Whatever their take on this particular story, Debi, the media is not a charitable organization.  They’re in the business of making money.  Just the facts, ma’am, doesn’t always play with the paying public.  It’s up to us as consumers to purchase the product that suits our specific needs.  And, frankly, most of us don’t purchase anything.  That’s what the Internet has given us – free access to some of the best news writers and the most reliable news sources.  And yet, we choose to read garbage.  So who’s at fault here?

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  4. Debi Drecksler Debi Drecksler says

    watermusic…I agree that the quality of news in America leaves something to be desired. 

    I used to write for our local newspaper. It was a column that I created recognizing outstanding people in the sales and service industry. I called it ,”You’ve Been Caught Being Nice” After my Editor died, his very young replacement called me in and said, I am terminating your weekly column. When I asked why, she replied, “No-one wants to read such sweet news! You’re just too nice!” I argued that I had a great following but it fell on deaf ears.

    I took my idea to another publication (A local magazine) and continued writing the column but never forgot what that young woman said. I believe that Americans want to read about the good people…there are lots of them out there!! 

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    • watermusic watermusic says

      I’ve been thinking about this post this morning. You’re not far off the mark about the internet being a big National Inquirer. I read the NYT and listen to NPR for news and some would say they’re biased but they reflect my take on life. I don’t want to wallow in the trash that passes for news sometimes but I do want to know what’s going on.

      My concern is that so much of this kind of new will make us insensitive to it.  I have heard more details about the Wiener case then I need to know but very little discussion about the questions around it.

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      • Debi Drecksler Debi Drecksler says

        watermusic…You bring up some good points. I worry about people becoming insensitive to the real issues, too!

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  5. Generic Image moongoddess says

    They’ll keep beating that dead horse until the next poor fool let’s his all hang out and we’ll get to hear all about it.  Where is the real news here as Debi says.  I agree.  He’s a loser and we all lose something.  The media wins again. They don’t have to be so explicit about the details. We’re not stupid and can use our imaginations.

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  6. Debi Drecksler Debi Drecksler says

    Stevie ..You say “Whatever their take on this particular story, Debi, the media is not a charitable organization.  They’re in the business of making money.”

    It is sad that smut “sells” to the American public more than the newsworthy stories.

    One more point about a comment you made… You said,”we choose to read garbage.  So who’s at fault here?”
    When the internet is swamped with stories about things like Weiner’s weiner (sorry..I couldn’t resist) it takes some time to weed out the crap and get to the important stories.

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    • Generic Image Stevie says

      On what do you base your opinion that smut sells to the American public more than newsworthy stories do?  I’m not speaking specifically of Weiner here but what are you relying on to support your statement?
       
      I think if you want to make effective use of the Internet as it relates to finding important news stories, identify the agencies that you believe to be reliable sources of news and subscribe to their feeds.  If it’s newsworthy, it will be carried by major wire services such as Reuters, the Associated Press and others.  And in my view, Debi, if people choose to read garbage because it’s too time consuming to find newsworthy stories (if I’m reading your comment correctly), they are the problem, not the Internet.
       
      All this media-bashing is tiresome.  Did you know that last year 102 journalists worldwide were killed in the line of duty.  Another 25 were killed in the first five months of 2011.  I don’t know how many were American but Americans cared enough about them to create the Newseum, an interactive museum whose mission is to educate the public about the value of a free press in a free society.  The Journalists Memorial housed in this facility pays tribute to those journalists who died pursuing the news.  Some of them were targeted deliberately, others were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Often they took calculated risks and sometimes paid for it with their lives.  American photojournalist Bill Baggart’s final exposures are on display at the Newseum.  He took the last shot of his life at 10:28:24 on September 11th, 2001, when the North Tower of the World Trade Centre collapsed upon him.  He was doing his job and died as a result.  When we suggest that the media not publish stories simply because they offend our sensibilities, we are effectively assaulting freedom of the press; we are diminishing the value of a free press in a free society.  Our journalists (reporters, photographers, editors and broadcasters) deserve better.  And so do we.       

      1 like

      • Debi Drecksler Debi Drecksler says

        I am basing my comment on the amount of “hits” a smutty story such as Weiners gets v.s. a newsworthy story.In the world we live in, people are more drawn to the sensational stories than they are to the educational or human interest stories. I believe it is because we are overexposed to everything you can imagine and we have become desensitized because of it.

        I have a lot of respect for the reputable journalists. I am sorry that so many have died in the line of duty.

        I appreciate the information that you have shared. Thank-you!

        1 like

      • Debi Drecksler Debi Drecksler says

        Stevie…I am curious…your Bio says you have come back under a new name because someone took your original name. What name did you used to post under? The way you write sounds very familiar!

        0 like

  7. watermusic watermusic says

    I see both sides of this. I think we all  have a responsibility. You can find good news easily enough but the news that is in your face is salacious.  I think the media can do a much better job of reporting the news then they do. This is news and I want to hear but enough is enough. If the media wins it’s because we let them win. We can turn it off. We can express our disapproval. We have a very good local NBC channel ll Alive here that tries for a balanced approach to the news.  I’ve heard the internet aptly described as the wild west.  
    I want the news, the news not the gossip. There is a difference.

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  8. ThurmanLady ThurmanLady says

    I have just read all the responses to this thread and want to add my 2 cents.  I do subscribe to daily emails from reputable Conservative sites which is mostly opinions.  I choose which topics I even bother to read and then, if something strikes me, I will follow up with other news sources.  I willingly admit that these opinions are biased toward how I see life, but that doesn’t mean I take their word for everything.
     
    Even there I’ve seen enough about Weiner to last for quite a while (except I want to know why he isn’t being pushed to resign.  If it was a Republican…).  I saw stories about Charlie Sheen, but not many.  I don’t even know what his stuff was about because I didn’t care.
     
    I find the NY Times to be biased, but find the NY Post the same (just in different directions).  But, we all read what we lean toward.  I know that Stevie has given many links in many posts and I’ve read many of them.  They are, for the most part, liberally biased – just as many things I post are the opposite.  It is getting more and more difficult to find a straight news source.  I often check out the British papers and the Russian Times.  I have discovered that sometimes they carry stories about the US that the US doesn’t even cover.
     
    That’s another problem I have with the media.  Stories that I would consider important and I barely see mentioned except in the more conservative sites, are not discussed in the mainstream media.  I have posted many times about the problem that is going on with the infiltration of Sharia Law and don’t see it in the regular news.  I’ve had some tell me it’s because it’s not happening, but that’s just not true.  It’s just not PC to “talk” about it, so the mainstream media doesn’t.  But, in general, they have no problem pushing their “agenda.”  Except for Fox News and a few papers (like the Wall Street Journal), they leaning toward the Democrats (example; another example).  Radio talk shows are the other extreme.
     
    So, while it’s been fun getting all those puns on this particular story, I want to know more about his resignation. ♥

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    • ThurmanLady ThurmanLady says

      This should have said “they lean toward.”  It wouldn’t let me edit! ♥

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    • watermusic watermusic says

      I keep telling everyone I’m an independent thinker but, hey I read the NYT. Just  saying. I would like to know more about his resignation too.  BTW, I don’t know who Stevie used to be but I do remember sharing her post about the noble laureates  with every art and music teacher I know. 

      While I’m on the subject of avoiding the gym….this is the most traffic I’ve seen on VN in awhile,that’s nice.

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      • Generic Image Stevie says

        I don’t know who I used to be either, watermusic:(

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  9. watermusic watermusic says

    It seems to me that there are a couple of questions being addressed:
    1. Is the media dumbing down the news or are we dumber and they’re making us dumber yet?
    2. Whose responsibility is it to maintain a higher standard?

    When I googled it I got 1,610,000 results so it’s an issue.  US News had an interesting article.
    I get nervous when someone other than the individual is making decisions about what to ingest.  I’m a big believer in  personal responsibility.  The sad part of the this is responsible journalist tend to get lumped in with the scholcks.  

    If the sensational is getting hits I think it’s because a. it’s in their face and part of the water cooler culture that people naturally want to be part of. b. it’s easier to find than quality news. Both of those are personal choices.

    That said, if junk is part of the free speech process than I’ll accept it.
    Who said, “I might not agree with what you say but I will fight to the death for your right to say it.”  

    I don’t like what I’m seeing in the majority of the media but I am very impressed with people who are making an effort to both write and report the facts and people who take the time to read it. 

    What is the alternative?  

    What we’re seeing is a return of yellow journalism. One article I read said that the first one was a commercial war within the industry.  I think we have that now and the internet has made it easier spread.  I read that reality television exists because it’s so cheap to produce. I wonder is the same thing doesn’t apply here.

    I don’t know what the answer is but I do know that we are all to blame and as consumers we have to accept some of the responsibility. 

    I have a lot of faith in Americans. Winston Churchill summed it up, “Americans always do the right thing but only after they have done all the wrong things first.”

    4 like

  10. Generic Image Stevie says

    I’m not able to respond directly to your last two comments to me, Debi.  I appreciate your explanation but I’m not sure I understand it.  I wouldn’t know how to find the number of hits on a Weiner story v. a so-called newsworthy story if my life depended on it.  Sad.    
     
    With respect to your curiosity about my former user name, I don’t remember what it was but I would imagine it was my own name.  I didn’t contribute much in those days so I suspect you’re likely mistaking me for somebody else.  In any event, there is no real reason to carry on a conversation on this pubic site under my own name and I prefer not to do so.  As such, I cannot disclose my name here.  Sorry.  It’s unfortunate that the ability to communicate by private message is no longer available on Vibrant Nation.  If you wish to communicate by some other means, I’d be happy to do so.  Everything said here ends up on the Internet and there are reasons for not putting my name out there.

    0 like

    • Generic Image moongoddess says

      Smart lady.  I helps to have some anonymity. I didn’t know that we couldn’t message each other.  This has changed in some interesting ways.  The VN book is good.  Many of us are mentioned and added bonus, it’s free.

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  11. Debi Drecksler Debi Drecksler says

    I always write under my real name. I am very aware that anything I put on the internet will be in cyberspace for eternity. If there is something that I want to keep private, I don’t write about it.

    Thanks to everyone for your comments!

    3 like

    • Generic Image Stevie says

      Privacy isn’t the only reason that people don’t want their names floating around in cyberspace, Debi.   

      0 like

      • ThurmanLady ThurmanLady says

        I thought for a few moments and I don’t readily see any other reason other than privacy.  Privacy due to your “station” in life, due to your career, due to not wanting to embarrass your family, etc.  Could you give me an idea of other reasons besides privacy? ♥

        0 like

  12. Generic Image Stevie says

    Safety.

    1 like

  13. aznikki aznikki says

    WOW I haven’t seen a post with that many answers in a long time! 

    I scan headlines and read only what is of interest to me.  I don’t care to know all the gory details about a stupid politician who cheats on his wife, exposes himself…whatever. (I am not saying I don’t care, just that I don’t want to know anymore than the facts).  The details I would read about would be if he was involved in a conspiracy against the government, shady business dealings etc…

    The Media reports, it is our choice to read or listen to what they say, it’s true that, especially when listening to the news, you can’t  filter as well as when reading them.

    I read the NYT, the LAT, the Washington Post every day and I do filter what I read… After the first report about Weiner, I knew all I wanted to know about him and did not read anymore.

    Unfortunately I think that Americans are hooked on scandals but that’s really nothing new.  We’re hooked on reality shows too but then years ago we were hooked on westerns! Have you ever watched wrestling?  People actually believe that what they’re seeing is real!

    There will always be a part of the population who will thrive on all the details – gory or not – of well known people and there will always be others who are not interested in the details but want to know the facts, and there will always be people who just don’t care.

    1 like

    • Olga Olga says

      I think the fact that the post that has gotten the most responses is the one on ‘smutty stories’ kinda proves Debbie’s point. lol

      0 like

    • Debi Drecksler Debi Drecksler says

      Aznikki…When you mentioned what people get hooked on, I thought of soap operas. Years ago, a male friend of mine told me that he and his (macho) buddies used to like to watch All My Children during their lunch break. They would all meet at a sports bar with a television. I always thought that was SO funny!!

      0 like

  14. Deanie Deanie says

    It has been a whole two weeks since I cancelled my cable TV.  I listen to NPR sometimes in the morning and often turn it of when they tell me whether the Dow is up or down……I don’t want to know!  I get the Seattle Times every day and just pick and choose what I read. It is very liberating not to have TV.  I am actually reading more novels and working on my genealogy online.  I’m sick of hearing about war too, why are we always in one?  I feel helpless and unable to stop or affect anything that’s going on, so why even think about it?  I grew up in a political family and I’m sick of politics too….and things are a lot nastier now than they used to be.  One joke I remember from my childhood was:  ”I’m glad that I’m an American and I’m glad that I am free, but I wish I were a St. Bernard and Truman were a tree”.  How’s that for nostalgia?  There were a few shows on Television that I liked and now I can rent them on Netflix.  It is definitely our choice to watch the news and read the bad stuff.  For now, I am just choosing to drop out and turn off!

    1 like

    • Olga Olga says

      My husband is a news junkie and I think he would go into severe withdrawal if we cancelled cable. lol. We compromised, though. If he wants me to keep him company while watching TV, he wears a wireless headset and I read or ‘surf’. He also records a lot and watches it after I go to bed (he’s a night owl and I’m a morning person). 

      I prefer to read the paper with my cup of coffee in the morning, especially sitting outside. News doesn’t seem so bad when the birds are singing and I can smell the jasmine. ;-)

      1 like

      • aznikki aznikki says

        Listening to the birds sing and smelling the jasmine while reading the news…. right on Olga!!

        0 like

      • Debi Drecksler Debi Drecksler says

        Olga…Sounds like you have a great marriage!p.s. I love listening to the singing birds, too!

        0 like

    • Debi Drecksler Debi Drecksler says

      Deannie…That is VERY interesting! I hope you enjoy your freedom from what my Mother used to call the BOOB TUBE!

      0 like

  15. Dallas Lady Dallas Lady says

    Interesting thread.  Is the news smutty? Sure.  Why?  Because the activities the news are reporting on are all too often smutty.  Is it news?  Well if its an elected official, a celebrity or someone else in whom the public has a vested interest–well yes it can be news and it can be relevant.  I want the choice to decide for myself if it is relevant to me.  I can’t do that if the news chooses to censor it.

    Another thought:  I think the sheer number of news outlets is also a contributor to the perception that we are bombarded.  Back in the day before the internet and we were children, you had 3 networks and the daily newspaper.  You could only watch one channel at a time.  

    Now with split screens, hundreds of channels, the internet, etc. you can simply be bombarded with constant news updates.  But it is all the same stuff.    I really dont see a whole hell out of a lot of differentiation between the mainstream network channels, the news channels, the so called titallating news shows, and their companion internet sites.  The degrees of separation are pretty narrow IMHO.

    As such once I’ve heard the story ONCE, I generally quit reading or listening to the story–unless the headline reads something about “new” developments.  Seeing/reading/hearing the same story over and over and over is possible if it is your choice, but it certainly isn’t MY choice.

    2 like

  16. Debi Drecksler Debi Drecksler says

    Dallas Lady…You bring up some good points! Thank-you for adding your thoughts!

    0 like

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