Oh Tribune Company, why do you continue to disappoint me?
First, you decide to give the Chicago Tribune a makeover and you end up taking a well written, well respected newspaper and turning it into a newspaper that cares more about flashy graphics than the news. Yes, you managed to turn the Chicago Tribune into the Chicago Sun-Times. Hey Tribune Company, I have some actual news for you. You already have a paper that gives more pictures and less news – it’s called the RedEye! It’s rather insulting to me (and I’m sure countless others) that the Tribune Company only views me as a subscriber – I’m a reader. That means I actually take the time to read the articles that are printed on the pages of the Chicago Tribune. Of course, it has become increasingly difficult to be a Chicago Tribune reader now that the Tribune Company has sacrificed the quality of the news articles in favor of fancy fonts and bright photos.
Besides the Chicago Tribune, the Tribune Company also owns the Chicago Cubs (another disappointment, ’nuff said) and WGN-TV. I have always held WGN News in high regard, however, Monday night’s cover story on the WGN News at Nine has made me reconsider. I think instead of referring to the program as “WGN News at Nine”, the Tribune Company should change the name to “WGN: Ratings Whore”. So, what was Monday night’s cover story? Well, the cover story on the WGN News at Nine was called “The B Word”. Yes, WGN devoted almost 5 minutes of air time to debating the pros and cons of the word bitch. Well, it wasn’t much of a debate – it was mostly just clips of various people like Jon Stewart, Snoop Dogg, and South Park’s Cartman saying “bitch” (or in Snoop’s case, “beatch”). Not exactly Peabody Award winning journalism. News stories should inform and educate the public, so the question is, did I actually learn anything from WGN’s “The B Word”? Let’s see, I learned that some people consider the word “bitch” empowering and some view it as an insult. But that conclusion is pretty much a no-brainer; I didn’t need a WGN News cover story consisting of 5 minutes of people spewing “bitch” to tell me that different people have different opinions on that topic. I also learned that the word “bitch’ can be a noun, verb or adjective as in, “I wish that bitchy bitch would stop bitching about the word bitch.” (I think I just insulted myself. Or I am empowered? Hmmm….). So I guess the answer to my question is, no, I didn’t learn much from WGN’s puff-piece-disguised-as-news cover story.
After viewing WGN’s “The B Word”, I couldn’t help but wonder about the brainstorming session that led up to this story….
WGN News weekly writers meeting:
WGN producer Pam Grimes: Well, we need a really hot story for November sweeps. Suggestions?
Writer #1: How about a story about how society uses and views a “bad word”
PG: I like it. What word should we use?
Writer #2: How about “poop”:
PG: You mean the “S word”?
Writer #2: No, I mean “poop”
PG: No. You’re fired. Anyone else?
Writer #3: How about the word “eureka” as in “Eureka! I’ve got a great idea!”
PG: That’s not a “bad word”
Writer #3: No, but I think the word “eureka” is underutilized and is ripe for a comeback.
PG: Yes, you are right about that, but I need a word that’ll boost our ratings.
Writer #1: How about “a-hole”?
PG: No, I think those bitches at Fox Chicago are running a story about that. Bitch! That’s it! Eureka!
I was also curious as to what reporter Antwan Lewis had to say when he was assigned to this story….
WGN News Reporters Meeting:
PG: OK, I’ve got a real juicy story for November sweeps. Antwan, it’s got your name written all over it.
AL: Great! What’s the scoop?
PG: It’s a story about the “B word”
PG: Uh, no. Bitch.
AL: Did you just call me a bitch?
PG: No, no. The story is about the word “bitch”.
AL: OK, that’s got potential. I see an intense debate about the origin of the word “bitch” and how it’s role in society has changed throughout the years.
PG: Not really. Mostly it’s just funny clips of people saying “bitch”. That Cartman just cracks me up!
AL: Well, there goes my Peabody Award, bitch!
If you have an extra 5 minutes, check out WGN-TV’s cover story “The B Word”. You probably won’t learn a whole lot from it, so my suggestion is to turn it into a drinking game. Every time someone says “bitch”, you take a drink. Everyone’s a winner with this game. Have fun bitch!