Some Interesting Things in the News

07Dec12

I saw a few interesting stories in the news yesterday that I thought might be fun to do some writing about to see how others may feel about them. The first one I saw was a story that talks about a study out of Denmark that says that couples with children live longer than those who do not have kids. It seems that this is particularly where women are concerned, where women without children, either their own or adopted, are significantly less likely to die from a variety of diseases, including cancer, and of accidents. The same is also true of men, but the rates are higher for women. The study was conducted among people who were having fertility problems, and the researchers are careful to point out that you can’t make any generalizations regarding a broader spectrum of the population,as there are other factors that are obviously involved.

I personally find some flaws in this study and am not sure why it was getting such a large amount of press coverage yesterday. Naturally, since the study was considering only people who were trying to have children in the first place and were experiencing fertility problems in the first place, there may have been underlying health issues with some of this people to begin with. The bigger problem to me though is that I saw this news story on three different news outlets (NBC, CNN and Fox News) and not one of them mentioned the fact that it was a study conducted among those having fertility problems. If you went only by their coverage, you would assume that this research also covered single individuals and couples who chose not to have any children in the first place for whatever their reasons may be. This is not at all what the study approaches and I didn’t find that out until I looked up the story on the Internet.

My second story involves Tide, the laundry detergent company, marketing a new brand called Tide Sport with Drew Brees on the bottle in his football gear. Now I have nothing against a company trying to capture a new market; that’s what business is all about if you want things to grow. Here is my issue with this story. Well, I guess I have two issues really. Number one is is it really necessary to market a brand of detergent directly to men? It’s the same product with a football player on the bottle. To me it is almost as if Tide is saying men aren’t smart enough to pick out a regular detergent on their own, so we need to put a football player on it so they understand its effectiveness. I have a whole diatribe I want to get into at some other point about how media, brands and commercials have taken to treating men, particularly dads, as bumbling doofuses. I’ll save that point for another day though. Number two is that this was even considered a news story by some outlets. I understand that news channels and media need to have stories that they think are or humorous in some way and I am sure that is what they were thinking about when they decided to run it, but how does this even come close to qualifying as a news story? I am sure there are more important things going on somewhere in the world that would be better to know about.

The third news item I think could actually be considered a news item of the three I saw yesterday. This one is about a patent Verizon has applied for a DVR that is equipped with a camera and microphone inside it so they can see and hear everything that goes on in the room while you are watching TV. This will allow them to do more precise target marketing, according to Verizon. For example, if they notice a couple watching together on the couch they would then run ads featuring flower delivery services, restaurants for romantic dinners and even contraceptives. Of course, Verizon is just applying for the patent; it doesn’t mean the device will ever exist, but it also means that they do have plans to make something like this.

Personally, I cant’ see anyone who would willingly have a device like this where someone from the outside would be watching you every time you turn your TV on (or even when it’s off, who knows how it would work). Even if it was only for advertising and demographic purposes, the invasion of privacy that it could potentially cause is so outrageous that it is hard for me to imagine that executives at Verizon would think that this could be a good idea. I can see how it would be helpful for advertisers and marketing, but would anyone else really benefit from this device? Would it really be better to see only advertisements that cater to things that we actually like instead of everything else that gets dragged across the screen? In some sense, I think yes, that it is better, but not at the price of having my privacy taken away at every turn.

Okay, so that is my venting I guess for the day. I really do believe that we have issues with the media and the advertisers and marketers of today who try to take advantage of us at every turn in one way or another to sell us something, even if it is only a story of some sort. In the end, I do think the news media has more of a responsibility to provide honest, unbiased news as information, and they have grossly gotten away from all of that and I don’t know if they can find their way back to it.

So what do you think of all this? Leave any comments about any of the stories, or any of my comments or your feeling towards the media or the news. Or really anything else for that matter. I am pretty much open to talking about anything. We’ll see what I come up with for the next post.

 

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