Today's episode... The Media: How it's Killing Us Mentally, Spiritually, and quite Literally.
What ever happened to the idea that tons of coverage of incidents like school massacres actually encourages people to follow in those footsteps? Do you remember all that talk after the Columbine killings about not over-covering things like that in the future, and certainly not letting the killers' "message" be heard everywhere, like they would want?
Today, as I was walking to work, I passed by a whole row of newspaper vending-machines. The front page of every one of them had this kid on there, with a gun in each hand, in his full regalia, looking like an absolute bad-ass. The front page looked like the poster for an action movie!! Certainly, that's not aggrandizing this killer, nooooo. The pictures they were using were from the guys home made publicity packet! Videos of him, telling the world his message in his own words, are all over the news and all over the internet.
So basically, Mass Media, the message you are trying to send is that, if you do something like this, it will work. It will get you want you want. You will be seen, you will be heard, and people will pay attention. You will be on the cover of every newspaper, on every TV and radio station, all over the internet, and your message will be heard by millions. Thank you, Mass Media, for further enabling this kind of horror show. (see that link for proof)
Then we have the correspondents, "on the scene", and you can see it in their faces. They're so close to smiling that you can actually see it at the corners of their mouths. They're so excited about this scoop! To have this story on "exclusive", and to be bringing that story FIRST! It's not about the news, it's about the news business. It's about winning. "Sure, the guy from the other network talked to a witness, but I talked to a witness and got them to cry!" News crews have become contemporary ambulance-chasers.
Also, what has happened to CNN? When did all of their correspondents become super-models who read well? Deliver tragedy smoothly and beautifully, with slightly smiling (but always perfect) teeth, and striking bone-structure? When did they hire the guy who does the crazy camera-angles and zooms from Who Wants To Be A Millionaire to do Wolf Blitzer's show? On February 8th and 9th, they barely touched Iraq -- It was all Anna-Nicole Smith! (And the truly frightening fact is that of the three major cable news networks -- CNN, MSNBC and FoxNews -- CNN actually did cover it the least; less than half of FoxNews' coverage... not a shock, and yet, still, revolting.)
Listen: I couldn't care less about what my news anchors and reporters look like or sound like, as long as I can understand them. GIVE ME SOME UGLY PEOPLE THAT GIVE A DAMN! Give me some people who care! Give me a reporter who weeps, and cries "O, the humanity!" and means it! Give me someone who is committed to the truth, not committed to saying "committed to the truth". Give me somebody who will ask the tough questions, and who won't settle for a bullshit answer. Give me somebody who cares more for people than they do for the company they work for.
I don't want a salesman; I want a HEART, a BRAIN, and a VOICE.
Is that really too much to ask?
-Brent Rose 4.19.07