Friday, June 15, 2007

Only the media can make a good thing look so bad!

I usually empathize with the media, for the most part they are doing their job and perform an important function in what makes America the land of the free. Every now and then I read a story that makes me shake my head.

The Albuquerque Journal had a story (subscription required) yesterday on a noble program started to help reduce D.W.I. deaths in Santa Fe County. If you are planning on a Friday or Saturday night of partying or drinking call for a free taxi ride to and from your destination, if the destination serves liquor. Simple enough idea that has reduced drunk driving in other places where it has been tried. The Journal decides to start the story with:

"Need a free ride to Cheeks to see strippers? And a ride home at the end of the evening after downing a few drinks?
Starting this weekend, Santa Fe County government will foot the bill for cab rides to and from the City Different's only topless bar— or any other bar or restaurant that serves alcohol— under a new program aimed at fighting drunken-driving."

Now granted Santa Fe's only strip club qualifies for the program, it is a bar. However, I sincerely doubt that that is what the county had in mind when this program was developed. regardless, when your family member dies from a drunk driver do you really care whether the driver drank at a strip bar, a restaurant, or on a plane? Do you wish the driver had taken a free cab regardless of where he or she had been drinking? Hell yes.

I like Erica who wrote this story and sometimes editors and others can influence the outcome of a story but this was not funny. D.W.I. is a serious problem and we must do all we can to stop it. Poking fun at this program was in bad taste and should serve as a reminder that good journalism is not always sensational journalism.

1 comment:

Eideard said...

Right on!

Sometimes it's just an editor who thinks that sensationalizing a topic is more important, brings more readers, than simply staying with the topic.