CULTIVATING LIBERALISM
FOR ALL CLIMATES
SINCE 1759
 
Google
 

Free alert to Candide's Notebooks
Your email:

JOIN ME AT MY BULLSHIT SITES

Disney Journalism
A Closer Look Behind the Shills

Serious journalism

If you still think business journalism in the United States is anything less than naked PR for corporations, just have a look at Sunday’s front page of the Orlando Sentinel. If you still think that allegedly large-size, metropolitan newspapers in the United States aren’t considerably responsible for the deterioration of journalism into sheer pandering, have a look at Sunday’s front page of the Orlando Sentinel. And if you don’t think newspapers, and not just what passes for television news, are easily to blame for fueling consumers’ addiction to bread and circuses (and more circuses than bread), just have a look at Sunday’s front page of the Orlando Sentinel: spread over the newspaper’s three of five columns, splashed from above to below the fold, next to a gigantic picture of Buzz Lightyear of “Toy Story” and below a thick-red headline screaming “SENTINEL EXCLUSIVE” and main headline screaming “A CLOSER LOOK BEHIND THE MAGIC,” what do you get? An investigative report into… and I’m not kidding you: “the weighty job of portraying a character” in costume.

Second paragraph: “Thousands of performers at Disney parks around the world must deal with physically demanding conditions and injuries from their heavy and sweltering hot costumes, overzealous children, and other hazards.” We’re told, in that Peter-and-the-Wolf tone, that “a third” of Disney’s local workforce of 1,900—that is, maybe 600 workers—reported injuries in 2005. What kind? “All told, incidents ranging from a death in 2004 to minor ailments such as skin rashes afflic the performers, who typically work 30-minute sets.” Thirty minutes! My god! Call in Clarence Darrow! “Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Donald Duck heads, among others, were specifically mentioned in the reports.” Goofy indeed. So, one death in two years, and how did that one happen? Had nothing to do with the costume. He was “hit and run over by a parade float backstage while dressed as Pluto.” OSHA, the federal safety and health administration the Bush junta wants abolished, fined Disney $6,300 for that death. Disney increased “the number of spotters who look out for potential hazards alongside the floats.”

The article spralws on, like one of those chained Disney rides, for 52 inches, not including the front-page spread—the kind of length newspapers usually devote to uncovering, say, a government’s domestic spying operation, or maybe investigating why, in the United States, 5,702 people died on the job in 2005, including 1,186 in construction. Orlando having been one of the hottest construction markets in 2005, maybe the Sentinel might have been interested in looking into the health and safety of workers propping up its big construction industry, and surely (statistical inevitability being what it is) dying for it. But no. That wouldn’t be good PR for the local economy, would it. The Sentinel is a nakedly booster-type newspaper on the old 19 th century frontier model. Anything for development. Anything for Disney. Anything for the town’s “positive” image. Bleak stuff? Just limit it to the odd skin rash under Disney costumes. The story in any case can always add up to another hell of a front-page ad for Disney, complete with Buzz Lightyear selling the brand. Because that’s what we really need from our newspapers these days: to be refocused on the trials and tribulations of 30-minute acting stints in theme parks, at the mercy of clinging kids and unmoored floats. Where’s Back in Black when you need him? Of course, didn't Carl Hiaasen just wrote in the Miami Herald of the Anna Nicole Smith story as a media watershed? “If the death of a hapless, doped-up ex-model can knock two wars out of the headlines, there's no end to the squalid possibilities. We have seen the future, and it's in the gutter.” The Sentinel just gave us a version of the more suburban, family-value-pack gutter.

| permalink
Bookmark and Share

THE DAILY JOURNAL
Read Pierre’s Latest at


 
The Latest Comments
 
GOOGLE GOOGLE NEW YORK TIMES NEWSPAPERS NETFLIX UK INDEPENDENT NETFLIX
 
  
RECENTLY IN THE DAILY JOURNAL: NOTEBOOKS ORIGINALS
RECENTLY IN THE DAILY JOURNAL: CRUMBS & CRIBS

   
 
Add to Google Reader or Homepage Subscribe in NewsGator Online Subscribe in Rojo   Add to My AOL Subscribe in FeedLounge Add to netvibes Subscribe in Bloglines Add to The Free Dictionary