Dean: “Well Marc, I have to both agree and disagree with you on the subject. I agree that there’s no such thing as an impartial journalist…” *The host of the show can be seen grinning and about to cut in. “…but that doesn’t mean that there can’t be impartial and unbiased reporting.”
*Marc Langler and several others at the table all seem to start speaking at once while Dean just holds up his hand to ask for them to calm down*
Dean: “If you will allow me to explain…” *The camera focuses entirely on Dean, showing at the bottom: “Dean Knopinski, BA Journalism, Emerson College”*
Marc Langler: "Well I certainly hope you would."
Dean: *He smiles and steeples his fingers over his coffee mug on the table* "All journalists are human beings, therefore will form an opinion and thus be biased in any regard to a story. With some of the stories we cover it's impossible to avoid bias, unless someone is a complete sociopath. But they don't have to let that opinion show in their reporting. The same way that someone puts on a fake smile and asks you if they can help you find anything when you go shopping, while inwardly they just want you to leave them alone or go kill yourself." *That illicits a chuckle around the guests at the table as Dean picks up the coffee mug and takes a sip of what's inside*
Dean: "When I was still in school, in one of the writing classes the professor gave us an assignment. Write a persuasive piece about whether it's better for someone to go out and invest time and money into their community, or if they should spend that on themselves. fairly simple assignment, and you know everyone is going to write on what we've been taught where improving everyone in the community's standards makes you a good neighbor and makes things better for everyone, yourself included, yada yadda yadda.."
*The camera cuts to show several of the other panelists nodding in agreement or smiling lightly, most of them probably have similar memories of writing assignments*
Dean: "Well I was doing well in the class and, to be fair, feeling a little snarkey about a review of another paper I did for him, so instead of taking that side of the subject, I picked the opposite side. " *One of the Guests holds her hand up over her mouth like that's some kind of shameful thing while another chuckles at his audacity.* "Well as you can imagine, after we handed them in I was dreading getting called out on it, so when he asked to see me after class and I saw my paper sitting there on his desk I was feeling a little torpedoed. Then I thought, well heck it's a persuasive paper and meets all his criteria, if he didn't like it he had best be ready for an argument."
*Another bout of Chuckles and laughter as Dean squares off his jaw and holds up a fist in a mock threatening way.*
Dean: "Well he didn't seem angry or even ask me what I thought he would. he simply put his hand on my paper and asked me: 'Do you really believe this?' Which kind of threw me because well I hadn't...and I said that no, I didn't actually believe that was the best way. he nodded and asked me then: 'Well then why did you write it?' still being kind of snarky and headstrong at the time I shrugged and told him that I wrote it to see if I could, which wasn't completely false, I had mostly written it to see if I could get away with it. he nodded and told me I was the only one who got full marks on the paper because by the end I had nearly convinced him to change his stance on the issue."
*There's some gasps and one of the other guests claps lightly at the story*
Dean: "You may have a bias, That's only being human, but that doesn't mean you have to let it influence what you write or report. "
Marc: "Interesting, but what do you attribute the whole wave of biased media that we are seeing now where some of us see the source as being Fast News or other sites and won't even read the topic knowing it's going to be horribly skewed away from what the truth is."
Dean: "Well first I think you can learn a lot from reading or watching the proponents of both sides of any issue, if only so you know where your crazy uncle is coming from at the family get together when he rants about something. But this is where competition begins to backfire and capitalism corporate competition fails the journalism industry. the thought is the more competition the better or cheaper a product you have to produce to keep competitive with your rivals. it fails when there's too much competition and the product you are selling is information. Back when things started out there were what..Four channels, three of which had evening news? Sometimes you could switch from one channel to another and they'd be covering the same story and finishing each other sentences nearly. All of a sudden we have thousands of channels a lot of which claim to offer news, competition increases, heck I think I even saw a Mtv news channel the other day, not sure what they report on but I imagine it's not Music..."
*Another round of Chuckles and laughter at the joke as Dean takes a sip and proceeds.*
Dean: "That's where marketing needs to be able to sell advertising space to targeted demographics for commercials and make money to keep the channel running. And thus are reporters convinced to report news from a biased stance to engage those viewers that marketing wants to sell products to. See Humans are hard wired to learn from others. You put somebody down with fifty articles from various sources to read, they may maintain the information they read over there, but if you ask them later on where they heard that information from, the couldn't tell you. but if they watch Myself or this show or another news program they'll be able to say: 'Oh yes Dean was saying something about that the other day.' or 'I saw a special that Benita did on SAP about that'. The put a face with the information because a news program engages them on a person to person basis. And thus you want the person teaching you or giving you information to be saying things you want to hear. So long as marketing needs to boost revenue sales, news programs are going to continue to become more biased to lock down those viewership numbers, to continue prostituting themselves to the public. It's a fairly vicious cycle where you need the money to continue broadcasting, but you have to keep being entertaining and engaging a specific market segment to get that money, and if you start pandering too much is what you are broadcasting true, or is it as bad as reality television."
*The camera centers on the familiar duo of Ariana Bening and Raymond Wages in the CH 68 News room, looking at the camera.*
Ariana: That was our own Dean Knopinski appearing on the most recent Point, Counter-Point round table. The topic was: 'bias in the media.' We obtained special permission to rebroadcast it.”
Raymond: “Interesting stuff, I didn’t know he attended Emerson College.”
Ariana: “I did.”
*Raymond quirks a brow at her but smiles and lets it go at that, though he does flinch a bit as if she kicked him under the table.*
Raymond: “During the filming of that episode, it seems one of the other guests became annoyed at something the host, Marc Langler, said during a break and threw her coffee mug at the man. She missed and hit one of the mic operators who unfortunately lost control of the boom microphone which swung around and knocked Dean off the stage into the food service table. We have no footage of the unfortunate happening, but are told that the doctors do not believe he has a concussion and are keeping him in the hospital overnight for observation. He’s expected to be fine and return to work later this week.”
Ariana: “That’s great news! Get well soon Dean we miss you!”
*She adjusts her papers and puts the “television smile” away as she turns to face the second camera as it switches to her*
Ariana: “After numerous heated arguments on both sides, the local municipality of Trenton has decided that residents will still have to apply for permits when they wish to hold a yard or garage sale. Voters and the board of selectmen both turned down two amendment articles that would exempt Yard and Garage sales from having to file the paperwork for permits on Friday and Tuesday respectively. The results of the votes were just made public this morning.”
Raymond: “Looks like a lot more Trenton residents will be powering up the old Craigsstuff and eBuy websites to save on the hassle. Now to give us an idea on what the weather would be like for such yard sales, lets go to Wilbert Woods at weather central sixty eight. How’s mother nature looking out there this week Wil?”
*The camera cuts over to Wilbert Woods at the Weather Central desk, the screen behind him showing scattered rain on the area*
Wilbert: "Well There's some good news, today we start off with some scattered showers here and there, not so good for a yard sale anyway, but all these storm clouds blow out by the late afternoon and evening and clear up giving us a high in the upper seventies, dropping down to sixty one overnight as the ocean winds blow in. Tomorrow, sunny with scattered clouds, Low eighties as the temperature lingers in that nice area. Winds picking up as the day progresses but nothing too harsh, a Good day to take out the sailboat if you have the chance. "
*he changes the screen to a day by day forecast display. Instead of the usual backdrop of blue is a beach scene with Wilbert wearing a rather skimpy European style swimsuit with his Rear end just barely covered by "Saturday" on the display. Might have been taken from his vacation photos*
Wilbert: "Thursday night the winds die down and we remain in the upper sixties for temperature, leading into bright sunny day on Friday, With the high maybe in the low Nineties, those winds overnight will blow in a couple of scattered storms that won't linger too long on Saturday morning and clear out for another Sunny day. The temperature will cool a bit into the mid Eighties. Overnight Saturday the clouds roll back in, but no storms are expected. Making Sunday a cloudy day with intermittent sunshine and high humidity keeping the temperature in the high eighties, but with other factors it'll feel like it's in the mid nineties by evening. Then on Monday the rain rolls back in in the afternoon lingering from late afternoon and overnight. Temperatures dropping back to the low Eighties and upper seventies during the day with nighttime dropping back to the sixties. Tuesday expect more of the same, scattered storms, a couple may be thunderstorms, with the temperature lingering in the upper sixties, dropping down to fifty nine or so overnight as the wind and rain chill things down considerably."
*The background display shows Wilbert's face overlaid on the "singing in the rain" scene with bad photoshopping indicating it's done because he sounds so happy for rain*
Wilbert: "So a nice pleasant weekend and back to some stormy cooler weather the beginning of June. But about normal for this time of year. "
*The camera cuts back over to Ariana and Raymond*
Ariana: "Looks like it's going to be a great weekend to get out of the house and take in some events and sunshine. Thanks Wil."
*The camera centers on Raymond as he makes an adjustment in his seat to face front*
Raymond: "A undisclosed man was arrested yesterday after trying to shoplift a bottle of bourbon whiskey from the marketplace general store. The police arrived on the scene as the employee on site tried to stop the man from leaving the premises. Witnesses state that the man saw the officers arrive on scene and proceeded to open the bottle and try to guzzle the entire contents down before they could arrest him. He was taken to the local hospital to be treated for potential alcohol poisoning. His name has not yet been released by authorities. "
Ariana: "Lightweight.." *She blinks realizing she said that out loud and Chuckles as she looks at the camera* "Liquor thefts are not something another Bay area establishment has to worry about, we go now to Jeannie Webb on site at Big D's Sports bar and grill. Jeannie?"
*The camera cuts to Jeannie Webb standing outside the familiar little hole in the wall style bar. A modest exterior with just a sign out front that says "Big D's" and the entire facility seems to have been a converted shop that probably sold shoes or fishing tackle at one point*
Jeannie: "Hiii Everyone and Thanks Ari. Big D's back here recently had some trouble when local residents complained about the sheer amount of nosie from the Bar, especially during open mic night and when they had live bands perform. Big D's operates such with a special amusement permit issued by the town council which was coming up for renewal. The council did approve the permit, but attached a rider to receive monthly reports from the police about noise complaints."
*The camera cuts to a man speaking into the mic as Jeannie interviewed him earlier*
Man: "Weekends isn't so bad, but they have open mic night on Tuesdays and sometimes live bands playing on Wednesdays. Tenants and tourists who rent out the apartments I have next door complain about the noise all the time. I had to rent out my normal apartment to keep the money coming in and move into the closest unit. it gets real bad sometimes on open mic night especially. I called the cops lots of times, but well nothing ever happens."
*The camera cuts back to Jeannie out front of the bar*
Jeannie: "Big D's owner claims he had no idea that those buildings were used for rentals and tourist apartments, the district is mostly one with other businesses. He went on to explain that he's invested in new air conditioning and encourages his employees to keep the door and windows shut on weekday nights. Claiming that at Ten O clock on weeknights the mic and sound system for live performances is turned off and claims that he has done all he can to try and minimize disturbances. Councilors seem convinced he has been doing so which is why they renewed the permit. But also added the rider and requested that local police do more proactive patrols in the area near the time for quieting down. Only time will tell if this is considered enough. Live from big D's, I'm Jeannie Webb."
*The camera cuts back to the news desk*
Raymond: "For those interested our own recent trip to open Mic night at the bar is available on the website, including our own Tammi Bean singing 'Girls just want to have fun' and Ariana doing a magnificent rendition of 'I will survive'."
Ariana: "Speaking of bartenders and waitresses, Kaylynn Garcia has been following a shift in the minimum wage referendums moving through the state. Kaylynn?"
*The camera cuts to Kaylynn Garcia sitting at the side desk (or kids table) for in house reporting when they aren't in the field. She adjusts some of her papers and flashes a grin*
Kaylynn: "In the past year a great deal has gone towards adjusting the minimum wage for workers in the state. the latest referendum concerns those who earn tips as part of their wages. Last month a 'tip credit' was passed by committee and goes to the state senate for consideration. Under current Maine law, restaurant servers and other tipped workers earning a minimum of five dollars per hour are scheduled to receive a one-dollar per hour raise every year until their current sub-minimum wage reaches the regular minimum wage. The downside to this is that it may cause people who own restaurants and other service industries to charge more and patrons to tip less, which means a whole difference in encouragement for good service provided."
*She adjusts her papers and several graphs show in the background showing wages and increases and comparing prices and all kinds of graphic data to back up both sides*
Kaylynn: "The proposal is about instituting a Tip credit wherein an employer can consider tips earned by their workers as meeting part of the employers obligation to pay the standard minimum wage of nine dollars per hour. The current language precludes such and demands the yearly raise till base pay meets minimum. by instituting this credit it takes out the yearly demand and it's hopeful that in the long run without a demanded increase that the workers will still be making the goal of the standardized minimum wage. Detractors also state, that this does cause some headaches for business owners who would have to calculate all reported tips and reconcile that with the hourly wage on a weekly basis to ensure they meet standards. The bill still needs to pass through the senate and be signed into law by the Governor, but many are confident that it'll be instituted in twenty-eighteen."
*The camera cuts back to Ariana and Raymond in the news room.*
Ariana: “Thank you Kaylynn, it’ll be interesting to see just how far this proposal goes, and how it’ll affect the next bout of pitchers someone gets when they are out celebrating their birthday.”
Raymond: “Coming up after the break, more on the fight for who pays what percentage of the Bay area school budget from their taxes, Kyler, our intern, has a story on that bitter fight between townships. Also, could it start costing more for locals to start parking downtown? Several proposals about parking enforcement are upcoming for the board of selectmen. The Eastern Maine skippers program will kick off the summer this weekend, find out where and what activities they have planned. And finally, the New England Fishery Management Council is hosting public hearings on numerous proposals at its next meeting, find out what they are and how you can get involved. All this and more after these commercials.”
*Cut to Commercials*