Friday, January 24, 2003

Its Cold

Wednesday night I saw something "funny" on the local news, and it was not American Idol. On our local (NYC) Fox station they ran a story about some local people who were not getting enough heat in their apartments.Every winter there are several stories like this, but this time I noticed a couple of funny wrinkles. NYC has been having some pretty brutal weather in the last few days (who hasn't) and the residents of this apartment keep loosing their heat at 10pm. The residents called a city hotline for heating complaints, but they were told that since they lived in city owned, subsidized, housing they had to call a different number. The other number got them no response. Mean while, the time heat goes off at 10pm and by morning everybody is freezing.

This is the first funny thing. This is the way it is in a socialist world, when you're dependent on the gov't for a service, you are S-O-L. When there is a dispute with a landlord you can strike back by suing them, or more likely, by not paying rent. I've done that myself when things don't get done. When you have a problem with the gov't who are you going to complain to? Will not paying the rent motivate the dept that controls the heat to turn it on? So who are the proponents of "affordable" city housing really trying to benefit? Is it about patronage jobs in the Dept of Housing? Doesn't benefit the tenants.

The second funny thing was what the "journalist" did during their investigation and how they reported it. Apparently, the residents had been calling the housing people for a while to arrange a meeting. After a bit the housing folks agreed. The housing reps were on their way to meet with the tenants when the news folks came with their cameras asking poignant questions like do you there are women and children freezing? (I am paraphrasing). The city workers became intimidated by the cameras, turned around and never made it to the meeting. The "reporters" said, with the usual righteousness, the city officials refused to even meet with the tenants.

Good journalism is not easy to find. Journalists must think it is enough to create annoyance and a stir by fanning people's anger (whether or not their is justification for the anger). There is really a bit of Jerry Springer Show in every news cast, or is it the Jerry Springer show a distilled version of a news cast.