Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

A Tip for Media Types

This morning I was sprawled half-awake across the bed half-watching the local morning news-'n'-fluff show when the semi-celebrity girl they have to do traffic reports popped up with a report about the proper protocol for tipping when you go to a restaurant.

Just your normal sort of blather about percentages, and who should get a tip, and that a big chunk of waiters' pay comes from tips. Same airy foofery that local stations have always come up with to fill time and train new people how to do interviews and such.

They came back from the taped spot and after sharing some banterful cross-talk with the other anchors, the young lady, with no small amount of pride, asked if anyone knew what "tips" meant.

Oh boy--I could see this one coming.

After a few seconds of baffled bewilderment from her fellow Fourth Estaters, the comely lass stated it stood for, "To Insure Promptness." ::sigh::

It's just a word, and despite the fact that some folks swear it's an acronym, it's not.

Well, obviously such silly misinformation isn't quite up there with the reluctance of some outlets to engage on the U.N. Oil for Food scandal, or Tim Russert being a big hypocrite. It was just a silly gaffe in a bit of dandelion fuzz reportage.

But, still.

I thought it might be good to at least let the young woman know that she might have been mistaken in her assertion. I wrote her a short, cordial e-mail noting the error, with the link to the Snopes article above. Exactly five minutes later a reply came back, thanking me for watching the morning show, and stating that the source of her information was a lady here in town who runs a protocol business, as well as the MANAGER of the restaurant himself! And thanks again for writing.

And that's it.

Nothing about having read the link and realizing a tiny goof had been made (I imagine because five minutes elapsing between my send and her send didn't leave near enough time to actually read something)--just the nearly blind assumption that simply because a "source" said it, it must be, if not true, then at least close enough to not really worry about. Almost as if to say, 'one source says one thing, one source says the opposite--oh well, we'll use the one that works.'

I hope that's not the case.

Now this isn't a slam against local news in general, nor this reporter in particular. She's new(ish) and was not chosen for her reportorial skills, and she seems like a very nice person. But you have to wonder if these are the newsroom attitudes she has picked up in such a short time, what else do their editors and producers let get on the tube with a wink and a nod.

Just in case any of you folks work for real newspapers and such like, there's a reason people are continuing to find other outlets for accurate information. Your willingness to turn a blind eye to information that doesn't fit the template isn't helping.

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