This past week, a local television station WXIN (also known as Fox 59, an affiliate with the Fox Network) gained some national attention when they aired a news story in search of local hidden talent. Inspired by Ted Williams, the homeless man with the ‘golden voice,’ the local news station decided to search for talent among the homeless, ”We started wondering about the hidden talent we have right here in central Indiana.”
Satirist Jon Stewart of The Daily Show once again bashed Fox News for their poor judgement and taste in covering news. In the Fox news story, the reporter asks a homeless woman to sing a song. After singing a few lines of Amazing Grace, Stewart says, “I don’t think she’s the wretch in this particular footage.”
I am surprised that this segment aired. It was wrong on so many levels. Not only was it done in poor taste, exploiting the less fortunate by asking them to entertain viewers, the reporter gave false hope to the women who are in an impoverished situation. The reporter told the woman the story of Ted Williams who was also homeless and now famous. The reporter also pointed out to viewers that the sisters who were interviewed were drug and alcohol free, in doing so, she generalized the homeless population as being susbstance dependent. There have not been any further reports as to the fate of the two sisters, but one can assume that they are still living in the cold streets of Indianapolis (current temperature 32°F or 0°C). Most people are disgusted by this news story, however, there are a few people out there who do not find anything wrong with it (as noted when reading people’s reactions to the news segment).
According to a recent study conducted by IUPUI (Indianapolis University-Purdue University Indianapolis) family homelessness in Indianapolis increased by 78 percent from 2008 to 2009. There are 1,454 homeless persons in Marion County (Marion County is the most central county of Indiana’s 92 counties with a population of approximately 890,874).
This segment about finding talent among the homeless cannot be found on the Fox 59 website, but you can view Jon Stewart’s commentary on The Daily Show.