How good is the news you receive? One way of determining it is to watch how a specific story that you know well is covered by various media outlets. Who had the news first? Did they get the facts correct?
Around 7 a.m. KCUR, Kansas City’s Public Radio station, broke the news that lightning had struck construction workers in the Northland and announced it was following the story.
About a half-hour later Entercom-owned KMBZ, which advertises itself as “KC’s News, Weather and Traffic station” at 980 AM/98.1 FM, said it had “breaking news” that some construction workers had been struck by lightning. At 7:44 the Kansas City Star reported the story on its site. KMBZ posted a two-paragraph story on its site about the incident at 8:50 a.m..
If people want legitimate news in the morning should they tune into “Kansas City’s Morning News with E.J. Becker and Ellen Schenk” from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. for it? Probably not.
While Becker and Schenk virtually ignored the lightning story for nearly a half-hour, the majority of their time involved pithy back-and-forth debates over whether men are better parallel parkers than women. It’s a common theme: Schenk: Women good, men bad with Becker responding like a hen-pecked husband.
Keep in mind the parking story (women were given 12 of their own spots; men 2) involved a tiny town in Germany where the Mayor of the town of 5,000 admitted it was done simply as a publicity stunt and the media fell for it. He knew women would cry “sexism” despite actually benefiting from his plan. The story was also more than a day old.
Or the day-old news from the Huffington Post that Starbucks was planning on opening in a funeral home. Or the “news” that about 1/3 of folks with tattoos regret getting them along with an in-depth discussion of tattoos the duo had seen. That was old news was in the Huffington Post.
The same basic handful of stories were repeated endlessly with Becker and Schenk also interspersing their personal commercials for diet plans and car dealers (“EJ will be at Blue Springs Ford today!!”; Ellen is the pitchwoman for Dick Smith Ford). The remaining time focused on promoting other KMBZ programs amid pre-recorded news stories, business news reports, sports, weather and movie reviews.
KMBZ might want listeners to think the station is delivering the weekday “news” (virtually no news is reported on weekends), but in reality listeners might be better served going elsewhere for legitimate news. KMBZ could really be considered ”news lite.”