Thursday, August 1, 2013

Williams: Shapes in fog

Today Buz raises the bar for incoherence on the Courier op-ed page, trying to turn what should have been a couple of Facebook likes into a piece long enough to justify the paycheck. It may net the paycheck, but it just doesn't work as opinion. Waste of time.

Page One: Where advertising becomes news

Today's front page prominently features the very worst reflexes of the commercial news business in a shameless and embarrassing promotion of the consumer stampede called the "back-to-school season."

     Here's how it works. Start with a reasonable news-style question: What are people buying for their kids for school? You have to ignore the true value of the question, because there really is no useful information for a parent in knowing what another parent is spending on. So rather than serve your customer, the reader, you serve your client, the advertiser. Prominently feature the stores and the products. Quote children who are too young to have any awareness of what they're asking for. Treat the awfulness of the products as if it's cute and harmless. Push the idea that spending for these useless and awful things is necessary to the child's development. Then cash the checks.
     This stuff is not news, it is not useful, in fact it is asinine and counterproductive for the reader. The editors should be ashamed.