10 Worst Local Media Moments of 2013
News production isn't a perfect science, as evidenced by some of our fellow Fourth Estate-ers of Phoenix.
From an accidental C-bomb, to racial insensitivity, to slow news days, to a guy who's just makin' it up, and more, we bring you the 10 worst local media moments of 2013:
It always seems that for one day every year, there's a local media conspiracy to make the temperature the lead story of the day. This year, CBS 5 contributed with hot-weather tips, such as water from garden hoses can be hot. 12 News showed a live broadcast of ice melting, while Fox 10 used flames to illustrate the weather forecast, and 3TV attempted to cook an entire breakfast on the street. Full-blown media conspiracy.
Last month, the Arizona Republic's editorial board wrote an editorial piece against medical marijuana that was so dumb that they published the counterpoint column from a local doctor that absolutely destroyed them. Kudos to Dr. Gina Mecagni.
Every few months, the local TV news crew that claims to be "telling it like it is" reports on possible evidence or sighting of some creature that doesn't exist. And, twice this year, CBS 5 rolled out purported proof of "Bigfoot" -- once with an alleged Bigfoot toenail, and once with some grainy footage of something brown.
In all honesty, we'd love if Charles Barkley did weather reports for New Times. The thing is, Barkley is not very good at the weather, as he demonstrated on ABC 15 this year.
CBS 5, producing one of its several anti-medical-marijuana stories, came to the conclusion that there was a "dramatic increase" in children "overdosing" on marijuana, thanks to the state's medical-marijuana law. See, 10 children "overdosed" in 2012, but in 2013, there was a "dramatic increase," to, um, 10. The justification was that the year wasn't over yet, as if that makes any sense.
Despite Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office being convicted of racial-profiling, bungled hundreds of sex-crime investigations, used taxpayer money to investigate the president's birth certificate, harassed political opponents, jailed journalists, "misspent" $100 million, and much more, the Arizona Republic editorial board urged people not to support the attempted recall of the elderly sheriff. Although the process for a recall is clearly detailed in the Arizona Constitution, the Republic called the recall effort "as much of an abuse of Arizona law as anything Arpaio has done." Pathetic.
Have you ever accidentally put an "n" in the phrase "box cutter"? Neither have we.
Out of all the places where ABC 15 could have looked for people to interview about their opinions on Trayvon Martin case, it just happened to pick Lo-Lo's Chicken & Waffles. The station eventually reached out to a local black activist for a talk on racial sensitivity.
The award for worst alleged "investigation" of the year goes to CBS 5's Morgan Loew. Loew started at a chiropractor's office, complaining about pain he's been having for months. He then complained about this pain to a doctor -- this "distracting" pain that's lasted for months. He couldn't tell the doctor whether the pain made it difficult for him to concentrate on things but admitted that it limits his ability to run. For this, Loew sought a medical-marijuana card. Once he got one, he declared the medical-pot program a sham, and claimed "young, healthy" people were being described medical marijuana, despite Loew being neither young nor healthy, based on what he told medical professionals, and the state department of health.
Amid the other falsehoods presented in Loew's report was this whopper: a false claim that 90 percent of cardholders got certified just for "severe and chronic pain." Just 71.57 percent of people in the state's medical-marijuana program cited chronic pain as their only debilitating condition. Despite calling him out on it, and the director of the state health department calling him out on it, Loew never issued a correction for his completely false statistic.
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