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- Jerry D Mead - 01-15-1999 01:32 AM

Don't know if you saw the awful episode of CBS' 48 Hours titled "Binge" last night, but it was an unwavering anti-alcohol diatribe with zero balance. The attached is a note I posted to 48 Hours on the Internet:

I'm 30 minutes into the episode titled "Binge." Absolutely zero balance. Not one wine, beer or spirits industry spokesperson, no one from the retail or hospitality industries, no interviews with moderate, responsible drinkers and no quotes from journalists specializing in the subject. You even included a girl who fell 6 stories to her death, with admittedly way below legal intoxication level and who was on drugs, with the implication that the alcohol was responsible. An unbelievablly irresponsible report that might have been scripted by one anti-alcohol fanatic group or another...certainly not by unbiased reporters.

Shame on CBS. Shame on 48 Hours. Knowing the flaws in this episode, I will never watch 48 Hours again with quite the same reliability as in the past.

Jerry D. Mead
Publisher & Editor
The Wine Trader magazine
Author, Syndicated column, Mead On Wine
Box 1598
Carson City, NV 89702
(800) 845-9463
Fax (775) 884-2484
E-mail: winetrader@aol.com


- amshih - 01-15-1999 08:33 AM

Other interesting tidbits about how news stories get skewed:

1. The internet version of a Detroit newspaper, when they first reported the falling death of a U-M student (I assume that's the death that was covered in 48 Hours -- I don't watch the show), reported her BAC as 0.059. One week later, another story in the same paper reported it as 0.59!!

2. A radio report on the story did get her BAC correct and also mentioned trace amounts of the drug GHB in her body. In the next sentence, the report mentioned that the body manufactures small amounts of GHB naturally (I have no clue whether this is true). The implication: alcohol was the cause of the accident, not the drugs.

My opinion: I think it was a very tragic, freak accident that really can't be blamed on anyone or anything, except maybe the folks who built the dorm windows to open so wide. But I think alcohol provides the most convenient scapegoat for a hysterical community that wants quick answers and a quick fix.


- Jerry D Mead - 01-15-1999 12:41 PM

The reference in 48 Hours was to the drug "Ecstacy," which is probably the street name of that to which you refer...but ethanol was still getting the blame.

JDM


- tomstevenson - 01-15-1999 01:21 PM

The CBS' 48 Hours titled "Binge" sounds like bad television. Not because it wasn't balanced, but because the conclusions drawn in no way fit the facts presented. We get a lot of that over here too, but I'm not sure that all programmes should be balanced, especially those about more emotive, subjective topics. If a programme spotlights a specific event, as "Binge" obviously did, then the content should be balanced, but if a programme takles a general but contentious subject, I'd much rather see one programme balanced by another. That way the viewer can make up his or her own mind after watching two impassioned but opposite viewpoints. So-called "balanced" programmes are inevitably bland and lead to sanitised television.


- SteveZ - 01-15-1999 03:24 PM

This got me to thinking, that with all the success of programs like 60 Minutes, Inside Edition, Hard Copy, 48 Hours, Nightline, etc., etc,. etc......I would forsee great success for a program that went after programs who when after subjects or people. A perfect way to "police" these shows when they destroy peoples lives or distort issues like the "binge" show and so on and so on.

Damn, I wish that I was in that industry, as I believe that this is a GREAT idea. And it's so easy, just watch the shows and then research them better and present them better. I have seen SO many shows like this that do a horrific job. Not to mention talk shows that set people up by misrepresenting what the show will really be about or how it will REALLY be represented. I know people personally who have been set up and one person comes to mind who was st up by non other than that dear Oprah Winfrey.

Any Show biz people out there?

Steve Manzi


- Jerry D Mead - 01-16-1999 04:15 AM

Tom...The problem with your proposal for advocacy tv, is that our side never gets told.

Good behavior/responsible drinking isn't very exciting television, as opposed to coeds falling out of 6th floor windows and tearful mothers testifying against the drunk drivers who have killed their children...never mind that the driver was at .20, and they are using that as justification to lower the BAC to .08.

There is no sliding scale for punishment here. You're as legally drunk at .10 where there might be some minor impairment as you are at .25 when your blindass, stumbling, falling-down drunk.

If you go five miles over the speed limit, that's speeding, but you only pay a small fine...go 50mph over the limit and you will pay a much greater price.

Commit a robbery and you might get off with probation or a short jail sentence first time around. Commit a robbery with a knife and that's worse. Use a gun and you WILL go to jail. Fire that weapon and injure someone and you will go away for a very long time.

Why isn't there an equivalent range for drunk driving?

JDM


- tomstevenson - 01-16-1999 06:36 AM

I'm all for sliding scales for drink-driving, Jerry, but it's too rational - it'll never catch on.

Steve, we have a programme in the UK called The Right to Reply, which is a sort of halfway house to what you're suggesting. It goes out at 7.30 on a Saturday night on Channel 4 and usually covers two or three programmes that have incensed viewers. One of the viewers is then given the opportunity to produce a 5 minute film (with help and assistance from the professionals) to rip apart the programme in question, producing whatever evidence and argument necessary. Then that viewer sits at a table with the producer or director of the programme and a moderator. The most famous case involved a documentary allegedly following drugs being smuggled from Colombia to London, where viewers actually saw the smuggler going through customs (viewed by a secret camera) and then in a hotel room afterwards where he produced the drugs for the reporter. It was all fabricated and the television company received a massive fine. But there are other programmes that feature on people whose lives have been unjustly ruined as a result.

[This message has been edited by tomstevenson (edited 01-16-99).]


- SteveZ - 01-16-1999 09:38 PM

Tom,

I really feel that it would be a great success over here. There are SO many of these shows that abuse their true meaning and direction. Many are so unfair in how they ruin peoples lives. It would be great to see someone following the reporter who destroyed someone unfairly, and outing them while ruthlessly following them and filming them while they show the world how wrong they were.

I'd buy it on pay per view [Image: smile.gif]

Steve