Friday, December 2, 2011

Media - Seeking Profits, Not Truth

I was having some car repairs done yesterday and they had Good Morning America on. Apparently there's another pretty blonde girl that's gone missing in Aruba. Seems like this happens occasionally. It's the kind of story that Greta van Susteren and Nancy Grace really like. I don't know how people can watch these shows, but to each his own.

I know absolutely nothing about it. GMA was the first I'd heard of it. They first did an intro piece. They basically laid out the case for why they think her companion was responsible. He was detained for a rather long period in Aruba, but was never charged. Still it sounded pretty nefarious. He says she went missing while they were scuba diving. He took out a large life insurance policy on her though he didn't know her very well. There are reports that he excitedly called the insurance company to collect very soon after the events. Video footage shows him seeking help after he says they went missing, but he doesn't look too excited.

After the intro it turns out Robin Roberts, the GMA host says "And Gary Giordano (the accused) joins me now in his first interview since being released." Wow. A tough intro and now he's facing tough questions. Should be interesting.

Gary seems annoyed and you figure out why very quickly. In my judgment the intro was a hit piece. Watch all segments of the GMA segment here. He's got very reasonable explanations for every accusation. Yeah, he took out a life insurance policy. He does it for himself every time he travels. He has 3 kids and a large mortgage payment. He added his companion. He maximized insurance for himself. He's not able to select one insurance coverage amount for himself and another amount for others that are listed along with him, so her coverage went along for the ride with his. Yeah, he called his insurance company after she went missing. His lawyer advised him to. Search and rescue operations were going on and his lawyer told him he might get an invoice for it, so he'd better call. And it turns out government agencies do recommend that you first call authorities, then call your insurance company after someone you know goes missing. This is standard behavior. They say he doesn't look excited in video footage as he's trying to notify someone. He says he was exhausted and he shows up at an establishment but apparently everyone has gone home. He's banging on the windows. What is he supposed to do? Scream at nobody and flop around on the floor? It's ridiculous. Robin Roberts says he's not wet. He says of course he's wet. The video isn't clear enough. Why is she saying he's not wet? There are other pictures of him that show in fact he clearly was wet, so he came directly from the beach to find help.

I thought GMA looked pretty bad at this point. Their intro portrayed him as if he was guilty. But his answers sound very plausible. Roberts should have been aware of them before hand. Knowing these details would have led to a less nefarious intro. There's no actual evidence against him. Nothing I see from the piece would lead me to suspect that this guy is guilty.

So last night I go to the gym and catch Shepard Smith on Fox News. They're covering the GMA interview. I thought it would be interesting to watch how they covered it. It was a bit bizarre. They were very dismissive and portrayed Giordano as if he was guilty. They sliced and diced his replies to give the appearance that he was dancing and unwilling to answer questions. They pretend his lawyer had to jump in and save him. It was crazy. I can't see any reason to treat this guy like he's a murderer. But that is what they did. They should have been talking about how GMA embarrassed themselves.

It made me think immediately of how ABC treated this poor guy from the Bachelor. They basically made a guy a villain because that makes for an interesting story. Why would they do that? Because it gets people to watch.

People like the lost pretty blond girl in Aruba story. Nancy Grace and Greta probably get a big boost. But it's much better if she was murdered. If there was an accident and she was lost that's boring. If the murder accusation is a lie, so what? It's more profitable.

They're just shaping it and crafting it so as to make for a profitable story. We know it's true of seeming reality shows like the Bachelor, the Real World, Hogan, Kardashian, and whatever else. Is the news much different?

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