Monday, January 10, 2011

"Best of 2010" and other Fables

Don't believe all those lists of the "Best of 2010" that appear in many media.

What truly uspets me are those lists that purport to be objective, as complied by media members for the past year--such as the AP's Top Ten News Stories of last year. They aren't.

First, at the best they represent 11 months of the year, not all 12. Lists are sent out to editors for their vote too early, sometimes in November. When I asked AP years ago, why?, the answer was the necessity of having a feature to fill print space during the last week of December, one of the slowest news periods each year. Newspapers wanted a feature then.

OK, I said, if you must, at least be accurate, call it the Top Ten News Stories of the First Eleven months of Last Year. That fell on deaf ears.

Gotta have time to compile, they said. You editors are slow to vote (true); we need a month to get the mail ballots back in, and write the story based on them.
That never changed, even as e-mail replaced mailed ballots; although I did notice that some years, when there was a major story that happened late (Fidel Castro taking over in Cuba the end of December was one), AP somehow found a way to get that story in, without mailed ballots or waiting. That happened several times, but the basic system wasn't changed and the list still appeared for the world, US, or Kentucky, before the year was over.

If the news media can't be accurate, who can you trust? Here, the news media, already under attack, is deliberately, knowingly being inaccurate. It needs to stop..and it would be so easy these days to do an accurate, full 12 months listing of the Top Ten News Stories, ready for printing and airing early in the new year.

For any list you see, read, or hear that claims to be the "Best of.." or "Top Ten.." of that year..issued before the year is over..know that it was produced by a flawed system, even when it may not claim to be objective. And that includes Barbara Walters' "Ten Most Fascinating.." and the "Top Ten TV well as the "Top News Stories of the Year."

I'm just sayin'...

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