‘freedom is a gift from the police — the police stop crime, therefore without them we’d all be dead’
it’s astonishing/sickening how many people actually believe that. Up until that point I was thinking this guy was just representing the american news media… then I realized the BBC and RAI news are just as bad.
Anyway, I think too much :P
Fantastic comic, once again, WR!
We get the news media that we deserve. Too many of us are willing to blindly eat up the sensationalism and triviality of most news, and as a result, the news media panders to our basest instincts in a vicious cycle. Problem is, it’s getting harder and harder to hold the news media accountable, particularly in this age of instant online publishing — it’s far too attractive (and competitively necessary) for an outlet to be first to publish. One can always publish an ignored retraction later if needed.
Empirical Discourse was a little younger than News Media, but they were never really good for each other. She had heard about his youth as a long-distance runner, and thought his scandalous time as a libel-spreader was exciting, but safely in the past. However, as he got older, he would just start randomly yelling at people, usually those who couldn’t yell back. And he kept these pets who would bite strangers on every streetcorner.
Discourse was always thorough, never making snap decisions, but eventually she came to the conclusion that News was never really wiser than anybody else.
Lately she’s been at Jstor making eyes at Internet–he’s cute, but he’s a real hot mess. I heard Internet is always acting out and something about a restraining order, but can’t seem to get any accurate information anymore.
That was a fun read, but I dated the news media, and she was a little more cold-blooded manipulative than you credit. Those ghoul stories to make you fearful and dependent – clutch her arm tightly and ask her what to do — and she’d take you to her friend who sells bear repellent out of a van. But you’re right, being treated as a moron got off-putting eventually.
Love NM’s mustache–very Cronkite-esque, without the burden of actually being like Cronkite. I can’t tell you how many times I have turned away from the magic mirror asking myself, “in what sense is the alleged picture of Jesus in a tortilla ‘news’?” Of course, my strongest hatred is reserved for the TV and online opinion polls: masses of unscientific, meaningless data collected from people with no discernible qualifications to opine about anything more sophisticated than the quality of county fair corn dogs. Said data then packaged into a manufactured “news” story about how corn dogs are poised to become the new caviar. Video at eleven.
There. I feel better. Thanks for the comic. Great as always.
That’s always the (problem) joy of these comics, you have to read them for the content, then go back over them to pay attention to the visuals, then go back over them for all the little stuff and then a final perusal for everything you missed.
The Ford Whatever keeps repeating about once every decade, having owned two in a row, I gave up and buy US assembled Toyotas. Have been happy ever since. The last Ford was a Friday-Monday vehicle that was jigged up so badly that one side had missing spotwelds because there was a 1/2-1 inch gap where the brackets were supposed to seat, so they just bolted it together and hoped some sucker (me) would buy it. Quality is number ???
Thanks for summing it all up and saying it like it is. I’m tired of statistically insignificant news being blown out of proportion and news of only regional significance being broadcast as national news. It’s all done to hype the fear factor and keep us sucking at the yellow journalism tit, but has nothing to do with actually solving any of the larger issues that really should be getting our attention. Journalists wonder why we pay less and less attention to their natterings, they should be locked in a room with this comic until they reach enlightenment.
If you’d like to set someone back on their heels at dinner or something, point this out: When you look at a story in the papers on a subject you know, you can tell they’re grossly wrong. Then, you go to the VERY NEXT ARTICLE and assume that the exact same author is right? WTF is wrong with you?
Nice comic as usual. I think its a little myopic to generalize media like that though. There are a lot of good journalists and news networks.
The biggest challenge about watching or reading the news is filtering sensational bullshit and sketchy facts for the solid ones and forming your own opinions. Cant disregard the guardians reporting on the phone hacking or sky’s coverage of Libya or the London riots. Even the medias coverage of Syria and Al Assads crackdown on pro-democratic supporters is putting massive pressure on the UN and other governments to act.
Of course we wont mention politics since news agencies invariably land on one side or the other… That cant really be helped by anyone.
All I’m saying is, its a bit OTT to “switch off” from media just because it shows you mostly miserable stuff plus some waterskiing squirrels.
Oh, i know, there are in fact some good media outlets, and even a couple i’d pay to read if they disappeared behind a paywall (the Guardian, for instance). But i’ve definitely switched off from a few specific media outlets just because they increasingly talk about everything except actual news (coughthecbccough). The title of the comic would just be a tad unwieldy if it were “If Some Particular News Outlets (but not all, since it’s impossible to generalize) Were a Person.”
Myopic? It’s just the other way around. Mr. Rowntree is being far too kind to our craptastic media corporations. Fully 90% of US television, cable, print and radio is utter contentless shit – sub-moronic least-common-denominator infotainment crapped out for an audience of spineless know-nothing god-bothering drones who think they can lose weight be eating ice cream and evolution is an atheist conspiracy. If it weren’t for a few radio stations and website, plus some foreign media outlets, the US would be an information wasteland.
Great comic as always. Surprised you didn’t go into the bickering partisan circus that is mainstream American networks, but then again you probably aren’t exposed to that as often as we are down here in good ol’ Murka. This comic is more true of the local news here, if anything, as the bigger channels are too busy coming up with new rhetoric to brainwash people onto their political ‘side’ than they are with actual reporting.
Nice one. Yes, I feel like yelling the soul out of journalists sometimes. Actually (forgive me for giving you advice; who do I think I am?) I would have loved a reference to sport journalism and especially sportscasters. Sometimes I believe they actually hate the sport, so they make their best effort to make it as unenjoyable as possible. I thought just Latin American football (soccer) commentators were like that, but then I found American sport pundits to be equally assholey. Exceptions are to be acknowledged, of course.
Anyway, I think media are sometimes infuriating, but you can’t have a democracy without them. Someone has to be there to expose the stink. Maybe that someone is strident, preachy, clumsy and etcetera, but it’s still better than the alternatives: State-controlled media or no media at all.
Great Comic, I enjoyed it thoroughly. It’s sad when you have family who are like this (my step-father is a media junkie as well as a journalist) I e-mailed this to my mother who couldn’t stop laughing because it reminder her of him and partly why she left him also. Keep up the good work
Based on all the recollections in the news, i think he was an even better man than anyone thought he was. Very hard to accept that he’s gone. I honestly thought he’d pull through and eventually be the next prime minister. This planet is just a bit much sometimes.
I noticed that you used the subjunctive mood properly with in your dialogue by saying, “.. if you were stupid” , yet fail to do so in the title by using was for a hypothetical situation. I really shouldn’t correct anyone’s grammar as mine is awful just this particular rule really gets to me. I feel a physical sensation when people say things like “if i was…” More of a neurotic thing than a grammar thing really.
oh my goodness!! you responded (politely!!) !! i am aghast; i feel like a rock star has sweat on me! I do feel considerably cleaner in this case though. Thank you for being a great artist and writer who cares enough about his work to read the comments of his fans and to be self critical. You are a good person.
Maybe somehow I read the RAW files of this, but it feels like someone was hurt in the making of this strip. Regardless, the visibility of both was stark, and the growing sharpness of character is a looming bo[om/mb] fiction [?][.]
I just read like half of this comments wall, and I’m noticing a pattern in people who were on the fence/in some disagreement with this comic. They seem to mostly be saying things along the line of, “yeah there’s a lot of shitty news out there, but it’s not ALL awful, and besides, what are the alternatives?”
This sort of dissent reminds me of people standing up for the news in general, wherever I’ve encountered it. I think it is analogous to being in a relationship where he (or she) slaps you around some—maybe verbally, maybe not physically, but it still stings, and he (or she) doesn’t seem to see a need to apologize—and your friend’s response when you complain is, “well he (or she) has some good qualities too, don’t overlook those! And aren’t you overreacting a little? That’s how men (or women) are, you have to learn to deal with it! It’s better than being alone!”
Which is, of course, the essence of this your comic. I have a lot of respect for you, Captain Rowntree; you manage to say things on many levels simultaneously, unapologetically yet sensitively, effectively yet sincerely. A lot of respect. Thank you for making the internet, and the world, A BETTER PLACE.
You know, it’s funny, I was just having a conversation with my sister today about the insidious nature of most rape. How we have this image of rape as man-in-the-bushes-with-knife, but most rape is someone choosing to ignore when you say no, and pushing you not with physical force, but by casually manipulating your clear vulnerabilities. And how the discrepancy between this type of rape and the image we have of psycho-in-bushes rape makes it easier for people to blame the person being victimized. I think it’s really important not to withhold blame from a system, or action, or person, simply for not being as bad as they COULD be. And I think this applies to our media, which has a great responsibility to society due to their position. They (and I of course acknowledge there are great individuals in the media out there, but this statement is directed to the media as a body) may not be actively skullfucking citizenry and pissing in our faces (in a metaphorical sense, ya know), but they sure as hell are not only neglecting parts of that responsibility, but are violating them as well.
No, the media probably isn’t ending lives with their efforts (well, maybe News of the World, and, uh, possibly some others who haven’t surfaced yet…probably not most of the news though, well, I HOPE). But date rape is still rape; nonviolent rape is still traumatic; and bad reporting is bad reporting is bad reporting. Not that I’m putting it on a LEVEL with rape, but the principle, I think, is the same.
As a member of the print media I’d like to posit that you’re missing a critical word in your title, Winston.
TV news media will talk for hours over the little boy who was dismembered, well beyond running out of things to talk about. Any print media outside of 300 miles of the incident will dedicate no more than about 5 or 6 inches of text to it per day with that amount dwindling with each press run. And unlike TV news, if you don’t want to read a particular story, you just flip a few pages of ads and blammo, you’re on the next one.
I work as a newspaper reporter, not for a large corporation or anything but sad to say this is still largely true. Quite frankly, the guy kind of reminds me of myself in SOME aspects. Like I’m totally the guy who points out that there are people who don’t believe the sky is blue. I also can’t help saying “did you know that…” all the time.
I will say, what gets people reading is what gets published. If people stopped reading about the grisly crimes, or if they stopped caring that the skull found behind Lowes was that of a person who’s been missing for 2 years, I wouldn’t have to write that article :(.
Still, like all your comments, it’s given me something to think about, and this one hits close to home.
Living in a post-communist country there is a great difference between propagandistic “positive” news and modern splatter. On the other hand, pointless practices like public opinions on continental-scale diplomatic problem (where nobody has even slightest idea what is it about) were used back in 70′s too. Latest freaky thing is sad music added to shots of accidents or disabled people. Only thing I missed in this comic is the funny animal piece in the end.
I understand that the news shows way too much bad news, especially to do with kids getting abducted and killed. But I think this makes people more aware of the psychos that are out there and in turn makes them more watchful, and this makes it safer for kids. For example, back in the 70′s Rodney Alcala apparently killed 100′s of innocent kids, but if you take 5 mins to talk to some old asshole reminiscing about the “better days” they’ll say “these things didn’t happen in our day”. Well they actually did, and the reason the psycho got away with it is because no one on a nationwide level knew that so many kids were going missing. I mean, so many criminals have been caught just because of the show “America’s most wanted”. So it helps to publicize, rather than have news stories about fucking daisies when bad things are happening all around. It’s a mean world, and the more aware we are, the more likely it is that we are gonna stand up and say “I’m gonna do what I can to make a change”.
Please just go look at the FBI’s numbers on how many child abductions there are. Then look at the data that shows who most likely abducts a child: Someone whom the child knows, someone close to the family. The media hypes up the rare exceptions and has parents jumping at shadows when the reality is, post-divorce, the person sleeping next to you is most likely to take your child. Also, AMW isn’t a news show. They state the documented facts of the case with a dramatization thrown in for spice then show the face of the perp. I actually kinda wish that the news were that concise rather than the ‘if I run around with a cameraman and a mike that makes me a journalist no matter what i say or where i am’ mentality. Just gimme the facts, I’ll form my own opinion.
Bull-Fucking-Shit, Click. You sound just like that media asshole in the comic. Rodney Alcala did not kill “100s of innocent kids”. That’s sub-moronic. 50 is a top-end estimate, probably less, and the majority were prostitutes. Idiotic scare-monging dumbass cable shows written for life-bereft trailer-dwelling know-nothing drama queens inflate the danger of random murder for ratings. It may help your unwarrented sense of superiority to spout idiotic cliches like “it’s a mean world”, but it would be more accurate to say ‘its a stupid world filled with gullible morons.”
I recently re-started my blog, and chose this comic as the subject of said blog-post. You guys all seem to have pretty strong opinions about the subject matter of this comic, but I’d love to hear your take on the style of it compared to how I found it.
Although the blog is a bit wordy, I can’t imagine any regular readers of this comic would have issues with a word-count! :P
Please let me know what you think, either on here or on my blog. Hold no punches.
I myself have been guilty of what this guy is doin, responses only given to argue while blatantly absconding the other person’s view or justifying any crazy ass thing that spills forth from my maw. Still, people like this bring up such a fun rage.
I never got the whole “you’re just gonna let me walk away” thing. Either you want to end it, or you don’t. Make up your mind and stick with it, damn it. Saying something like that makes your words, and your decisions, worth less.
But yeah other than that, hilarious comic. The news media is creepy.
Well, although the comic is well-drawn/written, something is missing. Can’t say exactly what, but I don’t see usual “magic” – it is kinda bland (IMO).
By the way… “strip archive” is currently implemented as a drop-down listbox. Which means, I can’t search for comic name using “Ctrl+F”. How about making a full page for comic archive so people will be able to search the text? You could link that page to “strip archive” button and keep the listbox (for “backward compatibility”)…
I can’t believe no one has mentioned the presence of “Time” on the currency exchange rate board.
While I’m not criticizing the comic, because I have great respect for the creator, I do feel it would have been even better with the inclusion of Celebrity Worship as another of NM’s annoying characteristics. I don’t know if Canadian media is like this, but US media, especially local news, has an unholy, unhealthy obsession with the minutiae of those even vaguely famous. And they still call it “news,” which is most offensive to me. Imagine this guy gushing like a schoolgirl over so-and-so’s dress or something.
And, to those who decry the state of news media today, it has become so due to money. Cronkite and Murrow weren’t expected to turn a profit, but today’s news outlets are. That’s why they cater to the lowest common denominator, including the Celeb Worship mentioned above.
Nothing is about what it seems anymore. Everything is motivated by profit margins and the bottom line. I’d love to see a Subnormality comic devoted to that idea.
The extra depressing truth of this comic hit me a few hours later, when, longing for a little human contact and not finding any new e-mails or facebook messages, I found myself turning (non-ironically) to a news search to fill that void… and boy, he was everything you depicted.