Mike's Newspaper Column

Mike's Newspaper Column
Read Mike's column weekly in the Times Community Newspaper Family, including the legendary Kettering-Oakwood Times, and posted here the following week.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Keep The Internet Free

Keep the Internet Free
By Mike Scinto
            Let’s start with the bottom line this time. Lawmakers, keep your hands off the Internet! I keep hearing rumblings that Congress would like to control Internet content, and states would like to control profit in order to get their cut of the pie. Obama has indicated he’d like to be able to “take control” of the web if it is in the national interest.

            The Internet is a wonderful tool, research outlet, shopping mall and personal organizer. One of the things that excites people from 5 to 75 is the fact that, for the most part, it is open and easy access to everything. Once the government, at any level, gets into it; well it’s all over.

            Actually, since the Internet is global, my guess is any attempt at controls would be short-lived. There are enough certified geeks who could get around anything the government could throw at the Net.

            Okay, there are inherent problems with having instant access to everything. It allows pedophiles a cyber playground. Would-be terrorists can see how to build their next bomb. Students can easily plagiarize and cheat on exams. But all of those activities will go on with or without the on-line world.

            I believe the good far outweighs the bad. Let’s keep the beauty of cyberspace free, unregulated and open 24/7/365. Admittedly our young people, and some of us fossils, spend much too much time on line. That has to be dealt with at a personal level, not through government over-regulation.

            Let’s all hope this fantastic tool of our generations, will remain of the people, by the people and for the people.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Watering Down The Media

Watering Down the Media
By Mike Scinto
            I suppose the media purist in me is about to come out, but I feel it needs to. All areas of broadcast media have compromised themselves so much that I’m not sure they can, or will, ever reform; I’m not even sure the current state of media isn’t so accepted that there’s no need for reformation.

            Ask those trained in true journalism and they will tell you there’s no place for even the hint of conflict of interest. Until recent years I’ve never heard “journalists/reporters” endorsing products. Now, every other commercial on local radio (not just here but in most markets) is being read by a reporter who’s been handed the copy after they get out of the news booth. How can a reporter maintain credibility and integrity pushing a good or service?  What happens when that good or service is under investigation for some illegal or unethical activity? Does the same “journalist” read the story on the air? Do they downplay or completely ignore the story?

            On a tangent from the whole issue of reporting the news and reading advertising copy; the grammar some of these “reporters” use is atrocious! If they are going to sell their souls to hawk a product, at least make sure the copy is written using proper grammar. I know they don’t write them, they just read them, but come on, it’s their voices that are the instrument of sales.

            What makes a TV or movie star an expert on politics? Why are they sought out for their take on hot issues? Look at Tom Cruise and his attacks on psychiatry and patients with ADD and postpartum depression. Why does anybody care what this airhead thinks about anything other than when filming begins on his next flick?  

Martin Sheen became a spokesman for farm laborers after several protest related arrests. The news microphones and morning “news” shows were all over him for his take on the labor movement. Hey, get a grip; he only PLAYED a President on TV!

            Of course actors have a right to their own feelings on issues. But when they use news outlets to make their case, I have a problem. My problem really isn’t with the actors, although they know what they’re doing, it’s with the untrained, unskilled editors and reporters who suck up to this liberal vermin.

            I suppose in our homogenized, cost-conscious society we get what we pay for. That’s unfortunate that those faces and voices that we come to depend on and trust don’t really care themselves. At least I’m honest enough with myself, and those who listen to and read my words, to make them aware that I am not a newsman. My journalism training long ago took a back seat to my desire to offer my opinion for your consideration; just as I have done with respect to the blurring role of faces in the media.