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KATU once again passes fluff for "news"

I know it's no secret that KATU, along with all the other local news outlets, deliberately dodges the real issues in favor of fluffy "news" stories with no real meaning or content, but what I watched Sunday night was perhaps one of the worse offenses. (Yes, possibly worse than women stripping in Florida to save money for college, which I saw on the FOX affiliate; or "the dangers of taking your pet's medication," which I heard advertised on the radio last year.)
My roommate and I were sitting on the couch, listening to music; the TV was turned to the local news, with the volume down. It was about 11:15 at night, and this "story" came on the air. I saw a shot of a "Wisteria Lane" street sign, a shot of a woman talking, another shot of the street sign, and another shot of the same woman, this time with her name and the description "Lives on Wisteria Lane."

"What the hell is this story about?" I asked my roommate. "Why is this street so important? Did something happen?"

Then, my other roommate chimed in with, "Oh, yeah, it's about that TV show, 'Desperate Housewives.'" "What?" I asked. I didn't understand. I've heard a few passing references to the show (being bombarded by advertising 24/7), but I still didn't make the connection. "The show takes place on Wisteria Lane," she clarified.

Holy shit. Just to make sure, we turned down the music and turned up the volume on the TV (always a bad idea). Sure enough, they were doing an "investigative piece" about the real "desperate housewives" that live on Wisteria Lane! They actually sent a camera and a reporter to knock on people's doors to try to get the dirt about what's going on the in the neighborhood. Now, I haven't watched the show, but I can imagine what it is - probably women starting rumors, arguing, sleeping with each other's husbands, that sort of thing. So, the good folks at KATU thought it would be simply hilarious to try to find out what kind of wacky rumors were flying around the neighborhood right here in Portland!

And then, the real kicker - after the segment was over (which lasted a good 5 minutes, I shit you not), the newscaster in the studio informed the audience that you can catch the show "Desperate Housewives" this day at this time right here on this channel! Yeah, I knew it. (Shoulda seen that one coming a mile away.) Damn, you have to give them credit, though, for slipping in the advertising for the show right into the news! No need to waste money on advertising now, when the local newscasters will be happy to plug your show for you. Do these "journalists" have no shame?

Now, I suppose the argument could be made that it's OK to have a certain amount of humorous, non-threatening news segments since the evening news does tend to feature only scary happenings around the country and city, but this is bottom-of-the-barrel. If they need to have this kind of crap on the air, at least wait until the last 5 minutes of the broadcast; not near the top of the hour. (But I guess that wouldn't work - they have to save the last few minutes of the news to devote to what Julia Roberts named her twins.) Better yet, don't have these stories on the air at all and focus on the real problems plaguing our society, and the ways to solve them! (Nah, too hard to sell advertising with that.)

Now, I could go into a whole litany of reasons why the corporate "news" media is bad for the viewing public, and lament that people actually watch this stuff on a daily basis, but I won't go into that here. You are reading Portland Indymedia - you know that the corporate media lies, and consistently puts this drivel on OUR airwaves and passes it for news. I simply wanted to gives folks another reminder why we have to keep on making our own media and not rely on corporations to educate folks on what is going on in the world today.

(Portland IMC actually has its own evening news show on Portland Cable Access, although I'm not sure when it airs. There is a page devoted to it at  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/static/pdxtvnews.shtml, but I don't know if the information is up-to-date.)

homepage: homepage: http://portland.indymedia.org/en/topic/mediacriticism/

you f'n rock, jennifer 30.Nov.2004 02:10


great article. i really enjoyed it.

i was wondering if you were gonna still write for pdx indymedia now that you're big time with the Alliance. ;)

tight 30.Nov.2004 13:34


Yes, I concur..heheh. Seriously, I like how you didn't tell us stuff we already know, nice HONEST bash of the mass media using facts.

But your guilty too! You just wrote an article, then plugged indymedia, on indymedia...LOL...just kidding.


watching Katu is worth it 30.Nov.2004 13:34


Ok... maybe I will understand how to post this time. Well, like watching Fox to figure out the scheme, five minuites of your life was worth it if it reminds others why it's so important to have other means of quality news. THANKS

you are just now noticing this? 30.Nov.2004 15:21

sorry, but the TV news has been doing this stuff for years

Fox news is really trashy, but other stations also frequently promote their station's shows (and advertisers).
This is NOT a new level of creepiness (I hate to say it).

The Harder They Push, The Less I Want to Watch 30.Nov.2004 19:13

Curious George

The worst "over the top" incessant marketing I've seen recently . . . on the news, practically every talk show, Access Hollywood, etc. etc. is for the movie OCEANS 12. All I can think is that it must be one big stinkeroo the way it's being pushed like there's no tomorrow.

I recall similar "shove it down your throat" marketing for "Everybody Loves Raymond" which I consider and uninspired and stupid sitcom with no sympathetic characters whatsoever (yeah, I watched it twice to see what all the excitement was about). Yes, NOT EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND! Some of us couldn't give a fig for Raymond.

But then I could never figure out what the excitement over FRIENDS was all about either.

wha... 30.Nov.2004 23:58


Way to call bullshit bullshit. I fell sorry for average American who spends the vast majority of thier free time in front of that aweful crap generator. Granted there's usually a good program or two on sometime during the day, but how could you justfy a lifetime of passive consumption of such unabashadly commerical entertainment. Chewing at my fingrnails sounds more intersting.

NoTvNo Crap 01.Dec.2004 01:23


Your are right. I dicided to get rid of the networks I mean all of them. I love it! if I want news I'll come here or other lefty media outlets. No more parpoganda. No more endless mined control. We have better things to do in life other then sit mindless in front of the parpoganda tube. You don't need any one telling you what to think any more. So get rid of it all.

similar experience... 01.Dec.2004 09:17


Yeh, I noticed a similar situation, maybe a couple months back. It was one of those evenings where I randomly turned the box on for a quick glimpse into the other side. Let's see, was it weather before sports, or sports after weather. So many graphics, I was dazzled. Then it was time for my topical application. This evening, after the salve of Preparation H and Nyquil was rubbed into my forehead, I was to get edumuhcated about the new hit video game, Halo 2. The following advert/filler consisted of, if I remember correctly, a good percentage of footage from the manufacterers(?) propaganda and feeder footage from an affiliate station. True, this is absolutely nothing new to me. It was just one of those moments when a certain amount of clarity slaps you in the face. This consumer propaganda is so ubiquitous, I sometimes forget about it. Maybe I should stop wearing that tin foil hat so often. :)

And anotha thing 01.Dec.2004 10:47

media Watch

Right on, Jennifer. Have you noticed how every fluffy little remote the "news" does involves something for profit? Like how the weather guys are always broadcasting from some restaurant or the set of "disney on ice" or something. This morning, there was actually a story about a "new product" that removed pet hair. Tonite, they're gonna "test" it on the 5pm news. Can't wait! Wonder how much the product placement plug cost.

They're CONSTANTLY plugging their own shows as if they were news items. Channel 8 does it with Jay Leno all the time. YUK! BLA! There is NO separation between the newsroom and the sales floor.

Kinda like the way NBC plugs the macho weapons produced and marketed by their parent company, GE. Or the way all the local news stations demonize environmentalists and marginalize their concerns because every damn one of em has a board packed with timber industry executives. (Seriously. Check it out.)

Have you seen those "to your health" segments and others like them? Did you know those are actually PAID spots? Yes! Legacy health systems, Providence, and OHSU all pay the corporate media to "report" their commercials. They come off as a public service, when in fact, they're blatant advertisements.

Blek. Corporate media is a disease. You know the cure.

Keeping American's dumb 01.Dec.2004 10:49


The TV is for the mindless American.
Keep the people preoccupied with Hollywood and Disneyland pie in the sky dreams of greatness. Then the real people in power can keep there power. They don't want you to know any thing. Except were to buy all there countless crap. Think about this you pay them for tv so you can watch mybe 5 minutes of show and 13 minutes of commercials. And the worst thing about it, Is the shows are ether reruns or worthless information that you will never need or forget. But they will keep you living in fear, You will be there dumb little American. So keep watching and in time you will think just like them. Or you will see the error of there ways and seek higher learning.

Good luck
PS read some Noam Chomsky