Friday, April 08, 2005

How Much Would You Pay Now? But Wait, There's More!




Sometimes, “The Point” is most disturbing when it’s at its most banal. A case in point is Hyman’s recent turn as infomercial pitch man for an upcoming book.

Hyman recently spent
an entire commentary praising the upcoming book Under and Alone, a memoir written by a former undercover agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.

The book might be fabulous, and certainly anyone who has devoted his professional life to law enforcement deserves thanks. But why do we have to be subjected to a two-minute commercial for this book instead of having actual local news? How is this advertisement serving the “public good”?

This sort appropriation of the public airwaves emphasizes the most objectionable thing about “The Point”: the theft of the local airwaves from viewers. Hyman’s opinions, as mistaken, biased, and ill-considered and expressed as they are, aren’t as problematic as the fact that Sinclair forces his views on its audience by appropriating a public resource, the airwaves, that should be a resource for the community.

Think about what might be done with that extra two minutes (not a small percentage of a half-hour newscast, given commercials) that isn’t being done because (in this particular case) Hyman wants to sell you a book.

Would you like to see more coverage of an upcoming referendum vote in your community? Tough—Mark Hyman wants to sell you a book.

Perhaps you’d like to see coverage of local National Guard unit being deployed to Iraq. Tough—Mark Hyman wants to sell you a book.

How about more attention to local high school sports that don’t usually get the attention they deserve during local sportscast? Tough—Mark Hyman wants to sell you a book.

Maybe you’d like to see an interview with an economics professor from your local college to provide some local insight into the debate on Social Security. Tough—Mark Hyman wants to sell you a book.

Given the recent controversy over the Schiavo case, you might want to have a report on where local residents can go to have living wills drawn up or where they might go to talk to professionals about end-of-life care decisions. Tough—Mark Hyman wants to sell you a book.

Local news often seems to be about accidents and crime. You might want to see a regular feature on someone making a positive difference in your community as a way of providing some “good news.” Tough—Mark Hyman wants to sell you a book.

And just maybe you’d like to see an actual journalist from your very own community providing a reasoned and cogent editorial position on issues of local interest, and have other local figures have a chance to respond on occasion as well. Tough—Mark Hyman wants to sell you a book.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the unmitigated rightwing bias of Hyman’s editorials and the lazy, deceitful ways in which he makes his arguments. These are certainly aspects of “The Point” that richly deserve condemnation. But ultimately, it’s the arrogant and unapologetic commandeering of the airwaves that’s the most egregious betrayal of viewers perpetrated by Sinclair.

And that’s The Counterpoint.

1 Comments:

At 10:18 PM, Anonymous Jerome Thompson said...

Thank you for this website, I thought I was the only one who let this @ss-face Hyman under my skin....I have written to KGAN in Cedar Rapids several times asking for rebuttal time or a response.
They just send you to the point(less) site. He does occassionally read emails one the air, which is the only thing I can say about his show I like. I try not to watch anymore especially that channel.
Thanks for the counterpoint!

 

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