A man drinking beer and operating a scissor lift down a highway on-ramp then annoying a police officer and finally getting arrested.
That’s just the latest example of a video gone viral showcasing the absolute craziness and plain stupidity of the actions that gain the notoriety people shouldn’t want.
It is especially the case when the video can hit the eyes of about one-third of the people on Earth, as noted in Facebook’s announcement last week that the social media site just hit two billion members.
From the boneheaded stunt attempts to the klutzes that are falling off buildings, bicycles and off their own feet to some of the unhinged antics of those that are simply strange, one can likely Google just about any insane act and find a performance that went horribly off-target.
With everyone carrying a smart phone or having a dash cam in the vehicle these days, catching the everyday erroneous behaviour is extremely easy.
No longer can people hide — unless they live in an Amish church district or don’t have access to electricity — the misguided thinking or clumsiness caught by others. And they also can’t deny it was them or that their friends are fibbing about the circumstances, unless they are Donald Trump.
That said, one can be certain the situation that occurred recently with United Airlines and its treatment of passengers would have come out vastly different if not for cellphone video put up online.
The instant outrage and backlash the airline received doesn’t happen if it takes a newspaper investigation several days to produce a story. By then, there could be a story orchestrated and passengers bought off resulting in the incident getting significantly downplayed or even pushed aside by other news.
However, on the flip side, it has turned ‘real’ media sources away from actually investigating news and issues.
Due to budget cuts, time constraints and the idea that “we have to be first with this” style of reporting, television stations and even weekly newspapers are being pushed to ‘chase down’ anything and everything in order to get the scoop online first.
Invariably though, this is getting done at the expense of waiting for the facts to come out, judging the incident on a few seconds of video and being called ‘fake news’ if it all turns out to be a misrepresentation of what happened.
Complicating things further are the so-called ‘citizen journalists’ that have sprung up, complete with their own agendas and view of events.
Granted, some of these individuals have shone the light of day on the dark underside of what goes on in this world.
Unfortunately, an extremely low percentage of what’s produced could be considered objective, fact-checked or not promoting a specific political, religious or attitude.
The public then ends up getting sick and tired of wading through the slough in order to determine what story or video actually contains the truth. That then translates into traditional media organizations needing to work harder in order to ensure the ‘principles of journalistic integrity’ are upheld.
Doing that though is becoming more difficult as these companies continue to cut staff, leaving fewer eyes and less time to spend on making sure the story is accurate and being told in the right fashion.
So, the moral of this story would be — question what is being shown, be skeptical of reports by non-traditional news groups and compare news stories among organizations, then you might get the right story.
But that is…just an observation.