Yay…ad nauseum

She’s alive! She’s alive! Thank God she’s alive!!!!

Now shut up about it.

There should be a rule: After any major event, the media will have 48 hours to report it, hype it, spin it, and do whatever they want. Then, they must be silent on the issue for a full week, during which journalists must gather the facts and revelent details to be reported later. That information can be reported for one day only, then the media must be silent and repeat the cycle.

It was heartening watching the press conference where it was announced Elizabeth Smart was found alive and in (physically) good condition. Indeed, the enthusiasm of the detectives and relatives was contagious.

But now comes the spectacle, where reporters ask stupid questions like “Was she abused?” Please. We know the answer, yet I don’t want (or need) to know the answer.

In case you couldn’t tell, I’m really sick of the wall-to-wall coverage of this story and those like it. Elizabeth Smart. Laci Peterson. Chandra Levy. JonBenet Ramsey. Robert Blake. Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill. Shark attacks. O.J. (guilty)

At the risk of sounding like a callous, heartless bastard (in other words, my true self), I really don’t care about any of these stories, except insofar as the issues raised are larger and more important than the subjects in the story.

Like many other people, I find myself in a quandry when it comes to news. Local news is, well, just too damn local. The evening news is serious and covers inter/national events, but it’s too dumbed down, it’s too short to discuss the issues in any depth, and by the time it airs the story is usually several hours old.

Cable news is, in many ways, at the opposite end of the spectrum. Viewers are constantly bombarded with “Breaking News” on events momentous and trivial alike. This is especially true for desperate, viewer-hungry channels like MSNBC.

Now, cable news producers could buttress their coverage of major events and fill in the air time with substantive stories (tips to protect your child, pending legislation on the subject, etc.). Instead, they opt to entertain us with the scandalous and salacious, as every new detail is followed by the obligatory 24 hours of speculation and punditry. Journalists, it seems, are just our immature, sniping, gossiping selves, but with notepads and cameras.

I need a respite from all this madness. It looks like I’m stuck watching lions and crocodiles on Animal Planet until the war starts.

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2 Responses to Yay…ad nauseum

  1. Jeff says:

    I couldn’t agree more, however now it seems a more important story (Iraq) will likely take our attention away. I know once war begins the networks are planning “wall-to-wall” commercial free coverage for up to three days. I know it’s a big news story, but three days nonstop? I think Blockbuster will be getting a lot of extra business.

  2. Aaron W. Benson says:

    Or, you could be like me and use Netflix.

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