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The Tentacle


May 18, 2017

Can We Survive Drivel, Piffle & Twaddle

Harry M. Covert

It's time to turn a deaf ear to the cacophony of tintabulations, you know the loopy bell ringers in Washington whose dying duty is to try and remove the sitting president. Won't work.

 

Cacophony and tintabulations are good vocabulary. They are in vogue today.

 

It's not nice to refer to the solons as boobs. They are doing it to themselves. Plus the things they don't like about The Billionaire can be officially described with these words: "balderdash, blather, bunkum, claptrap, drivel, garbage, idiocy, nonsense, piffle, poppycock, rigmarole, rubbish, tomfoolery, trash, twaddle." You pick.

 

The American People, as they are so often described by pols for caring effect, are getting turned off by the shenanigans. The only good thing going on is writers, commentators and columnists, present company included, are never at a loss for subject matter.

 

An aside, please. It used to be newspapers only used polls and statistics as space fillers for the weekend publications. If a reporter couldn't come up with a story, writing about polls or other statistics filled the bill. Editors weren't fooled, of course.

 

In my younger days trying to make my way in the news business, colleagues and I didn't like what's called press or news conferences.

 

Sure, we got the public relations handouts, especially if they were good for a paragraph or so.

 

Mostly, it was preferred to develop good sources in all areas of government and sports, et al. This way we got the unvarnished facts (we imagined) without having to share the news and if we wanted to tease readers we could use the self-serving word "exclusive" and feel really important. It was all an attempt to mesmerize subscribers and give writers and reporters feelings they were on the inside of important items.

 

It's not off base to report radio and television stations were equipped with one or two rip-and-read announcers so they had to borrow at large from the public prints. More often than not, the printed pages were not credited for the borrowed news items unless the broadcast facilities were newspaper owned.

 

Some of the latter does occur nowadays. News agencies service both printed and broadcast outlets. A little borrowing from here and there is okay.

 

Reporters worth their salt like to get facts the old-fashioned way as previously noted. Press briefings accommodate the pack and easy to reach a growing news corps. I'm being nice using "news corps" instead of "press corps." The "news" incorporates broadcast and printed. The latter did not mingle with "airwaves."

 

It can be pointed out that broadcast reporters were and are remunerated at higher rates. Pretty good reason to learn good verbal diction, facial makeup, hair styling and writing 30-seconds-or-less stories.

 

Writing copy for the spoken word helps with general news and features and editorials.

 

Where am I going with these lines? There are so many outlets spreading news, the new guys and gals want to be the modern Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward of Watergate-era reportage that the innate suspicion of crime and corruption is soaring. The angle is simple, a story, clever headlines with literary license above and beyond. Be explosive and watch 'em squirm is the key.

 

Insinuations seem better than facts and attributions. Nothing is sacred, confidential or needs to be truthful. Why should it be? Blame salacious news to a leaker. We news contributors, it’s believed, know more than sitting officials. Just watch the interviewers and commentarians (sic).

 

It's time for a rest. The interviewees are monotonous and have become tortuous. Paper books are still in style. I don't like censorship. The remote for the teevee works and besides the grass needs cutting.

 

Who do we trust with news and information? I'm thinking, and we've come this far but I don't know how.

 

hmcovert@gmail.com

 



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