Friday, October 15, 2010

Battered Media Syndrome

Many people would be familiar with the term "Battered Wife Syndrome" ("wife" now replaced by "person" apparently in order to be PC toward beat down men who don't need more psychological scarring than is necessary) wherein the violent husband is so abusive, either physically or emotionally or both, toward his wife that she loses all sense of self reliance and becomes dependent upon that abuse, actually needing it in a sick way.  It would seem that Chicago's media has developed its own version of this sickness, a Battered Media Syndrome.

I've written in the past about the way that Emperor Daley has treated the press here in Chicago, mostly to relate it to the way President Obama first began treating the national media after he was initially elected.  Daley's general practice has been to answer softballs, and then verbally bludgeon anybody that would dare to be so bold as to ask him a remotely serious question.
Quite simply, whenever Richard Daley decides he doesn't like a certain line of questioning, he either berates the press for being so stupid as to ask it, or he decides to move on to the next line of more convenient questioning
More recently, we were even treated to Daley descending from the throne long enough to offer to introduce a rifle to a reporter in a place where the sun don't shine.

This abuse of local journalists has been going on for so long that those very same local journalists don't know any other way.  And now that King Daley has decided to run away from the cesspool of debt he has worked so diligently to create, in a time that the local media should be working their asses off to discover what the real, hard issues are that Chicago's next mayor will face, our long-abused media is instead searching out its next source of sickly-sweet beatings.  Doubtless by now most of you have seen the video of CBS's Jay Levine threatening to deck William Kelly, but before I re-post it here, let's have a look at it in the context of Battered Wife Media Syndrome:
In lay terms, this is a reference to any person who, because of constant and severe domestic violence usually involving physical abuse by a partner, becomes depressed and unable to take any independent action that would allow him or her to escape the abuse. The condition explains why abused people often do not seek assistance from others, fight their abuser, or leave the abusive situation. Sufferers have low self-esteem, and often believe that the abuse is their fault. Such persons usually refuse to press criminal charges against their abuser, and refuse all offers of help, often becoming aggressive or abusive to others who attempt to offer assistance. Often sufferers will even seek out their very abuser for comfort shortly after an incident of abuse.
Now let's watch the clip, as William Kelly, albeit with questions that have basically zero bearing on the mayoral race, goes after Rahm Emanuel with questions designed to at least challenge the candidate.

We could easily insert William Kelly into the description of BMS as the party who is attempting to offer assistance to the locally battered media.  He's someone outside the normal Chicago-Mayor-beats-down-unruly-reporter relationship, who is trying to help the media pull itself up by its bootstraps and regain some self respect by asking something, anything challenging.  But the media, so very desperate for that abuse that it is so used to, that it now so desperately craves, becomes aggressive and abusive to the party offering assistance.  After threatening the attempted helper, the abused slinks away with its new abuser, practically groveling for his comforting platitudes about "change."

CBS 2, NBC 5, ABC 7, WGN, FOX 32, Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun Times, this is your time to stand up and be counted for.  You've been a battered little bitch of a wife for 21 years.  You don't know any differently than to sit down and shut up, and only to speak when spoken to.  But you have a chance now to affect the right kind of change for the City of Chicago by being a better media in a time of transition, to shed light on what needs to happen for this City to turn the corner into a new day.

Will you step up and seize the moment?  Will you break free of this disease, this Battered Media Syndrome?  Or will you continue to timidly sidle up next to a new abuser, hoping for brief flashes of meaningless comfort?

1 comment:

  1. The pen is mightier than the bayonet. Joe Lake, Bucktown