When, exactly, did local news become the Enabler-In-Chief for Walmart? | Street Jazz

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

When, exactly, did local news become the Enabler-In-Chief for Walmart?

Posted By on Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 11:49 AM

Somewhere between the inane Grins, Giggles and Guffaws of our local newscasts, I have begun to suspect that Walmart may be getting more than its fair share of attention - between the scant few minutes of locals news, three weather updates, national news and anchors making cute faces at the latest YouTube video.

I was watching a national news channel this week, and learned that Walmart is under fire for accusations of wage theft. Interested to see the local spin on this, I turned to a local station that night, and learned - oh, hosanna! - that a labor group in Florida has not only teamed up with Walmart, but they wish the rest of the country was just like the folks who wear the attractive blue golf shirts to work.

Or the not-so-attractive blue smocks, if you can’t afford to have the cost of the shirts taken out of your paycheck.

It isn’t just me, either, who has been noticing what might seem to be a not-so-subtle increase in “Walmart News” during what passes for local news - a whole host of folks have noticed that several fluff PR items in a row may be read aloud, in the same breathless manner in which someone might announce that a Mars Rover had sent back photos of one of the heretofore Lost Cities on Mars.

We learn which Wally Worlds are giving vaccinations, have great sales (I’m still trying to figure out in what universe stories about prices qualify as “news) and stories about happy people being promoted. Oddly enough, the promotional stories often seem to come on the heals of other, far more important stories about accusations concerning Walmart and its relationship with employees - sorry, not on this or any other planet will I use the insulting word, “associate.”

And, of course, the annual shareholders’ meeting is always a good time to avoid watching local news altogether, since all pretense at pretending to be an actual news program goes right out the window, and - short of actually wearing Walmart smocks themselves - the local anchors pretty much devote their whole existence to promoting the Bentonville Brontosaurus.

Yet oddly enough, it might literally take a fire for any other local business to get mentioned on what we still laughingly refer to as the “news.”

I have suggested at times that local businesses should just inundate local TV stations with press releases about each and every thing they do, whether it be fixing their parking lots, offering items on sale or even giving their employees increased benefits.

Think any of it would run?

*****

Yeah, I know, this is the part where people sneer. "I don't watch local news/TV"

Because this is a sign of how smart they are, and they will take every opportunity, when this subject is brought up, to sing this sad refrain.

Well, as long as most Americans get their news from television, maybe we should do a little less sneering and prancing about in our intellectualism, and think about TV news, and how it might be made better.

The country - or community - you save might be your own.

*****

Quote of the Day

Anything that keeps a politician humble is healthy for democracy - Michael Kinsley

rsdrake@cox.net

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