Wednesday, November 02, 2005

A Straight Forward Approach to Slants

Every day in the news media we are bombarded by reports that lean one way or another. Pro this, anti that, so to speak. Very seldom do we read, see or hear any type of news that isn't slanted. You'll hear from friends or co-workers who felt the coverage of a particular news item of interest was so biased for or against a particular issue. You might sit there and think to yourself, "Hey, I saw the same thing, on the same station, and I didn't feel it was as bad as what they just said." Of course, we all have our own opinions on just about everything, and sometimes we run into people who are just so animated over how the news is reported, they seem to lose track of exactly what they heard, saw or read, and, by inflection, they inject their own personal views to create a new slant on the slanted news. These reporters tend to be pariahs in their minds and thusly, they misconstrue what was actually said in the first place. A lot of it has to do with wishful thinking. As was the case with Clinton, people either like Bush or they hate his guts with a vengeance, so out of their mouths come some pretty nasty words.

A lot of times, someone supports a cause. Save the Whales! These writings can be twisted into a sort of political agenda because the reader interprets conservation or animal rights organizations to be in cohorts with liberals. Trust me, it works both ways. Over time, too many issues have been twisted and warped into weird concepts, when, in reality, one more than likely doesn't have anything to do with the other. I've heard that what used to be called a jungle is now called a rain forest. To my recollection, a jungle has always been a jungle and a rain forest has always been a rain forest. Tree huggers? I don't think so. We tend to get more excited when we somehow feel it might affect us as individuals, but, when did a rain forest ever affect you? Ha! It will when they no longer exist.

Slants take on many forms, not always of a political nature. They can delve into the philosophical or religious views of the writer. They could be based on one's own experiences. How many writers, especially movie critics or restaurant reviewers, may or may not like a movie or restaurant based only on their particular tastes? Clearly, there's nothing political about them. Maybe we saw that movie and ate at that restaurant and enjoyed them both. Below are three different takes on the same fictitious event. One is a straight forward report and the other two are slants. Each slant will infer something different. Read between the lines.

(1) A two vehicle accident occurred on Wednesday, at the intersection of Main Street and Vine Avenue, in downtown Orlando. It was reported to the Orlando Police Department at 10:15 PM. One person did not survive. Dennis Walker, 15, of Orlando was pronounced dead at the scene. His father Michael Walker, also of Orlando, was transported to ORMC and treated and released. The driver of the other vehicle, Scott Wilson, 22, of Taft, and his passengers, suffered minor injuries and were treated at the scene. Cause of the accident is pending a police investigation.

(2) A 15 year old boy died in a two car accident on Wednesday here in Orlando. The accident occurred at the intersection of Main Street and Vine Avenue. Dennis Walker, of Orlando, was pronounced dead at the scene. His father, Michael Walker, also of Orlando, was flown by helicopter to the Trauma Center at ORMC. The driver of the other vehicle, Scott Wilson, 22, of Taft, and his passengers suffered minor injuries and were treated at the scene. Mr. Walker had just pulled out of the parking lot of the First Methodist Church, where he had picked his son up from a Boy Scout meeting. An officer at the scene was quoted as saying, "I can't say for sure what happened, but, empty beer cans and bottles were found in the other vehicle." A witness said that the second vehicle had just pulled out of Bill's Tavern, a block away, and was exceeding the posted speed limit of 35MPH. Blood alcohol levels have not been released and an official report will not be disclosed until the investigation is completed.

(3) An accident which caused the death of one person occurred at the intersection of Main Street and Vine Avenue in Orlando. Dennis Walker, 15, of Orlando, died at the scene. His father, Michael Walker, also of Orlando, was transported to ORMC. The driver of the other vehicle, Scott Wilson, 22, of Taft, and his passengers, were treated for minor injuries. There have been many accidents at this intersection over the past 10 years, according to state statistics. One person was quoted as saying, "This is ridiculous. We've protested to state, county and city officials about this for years. We've signed petitions. We need a traffic light here! No one heeds the 4 way stop signs. At least two others have died in the past three years." An investigation is pending and weather did not seem to be a factor.

Do you see how easy it is to write a slant? You can slant a story any way you want to suit your own opinion. Many blogs are written from an extreme political perspective. I've read that Bush is the equivalent of Hitler. I've also read that Hillary is a lesbian communist. Why must there be so much vitriolic hatred spewed from the hands of such writers? Do we really, deep down, actually subscribe to such coarse and vicious thoughts? Can you actually prove any of it? Have you ever seen President Bush at a Nazi rally? Have you ever seen Hillary Clinton in bed with another woman? Of course, voice your opinions, but, why not write a less virulent diatribe? Most blogs thrive on comments from their readers. Allow them to air their thoughts to their heart's content. Don't be so prejudiced.

Of course, that's my unbiased opinion.

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