Why the cable news media failed us this week

Terrorism, in terms of market share, proved to be the only winner for this ... one terribly turbulatin' week of news.

Maybe the media declared a "system worked" tag on this week's Times Square terrorism spectacle, but it was an "all systems failed" day for the media itself. Anytime a poorly fabricated fireworks display pushes back time for a story on a global oil catastrope ... as well as the sudden sinking of a great American city like Nashville ... something is really off.

Within minutes of this posting you would have found the same thing happening.

A bag of books and a bottle of water were found on Times Square. For yet another day, every major cable news media eye in America is focused on one block in NYC ... capturing the view of dazed onlookers. One of the on-screen monitor readers gasped about how "it takes a village" to catch the terrorists, in terms of cops and citizens pointing out the potentiall explosive devices. But in that same gasp, we can see how the very sense of the "Global Village" of media is being broken down. We can see how the media can only care as far as the viewer lens of local concerns. We can see how a decade of degrading, ever centralizing media is just dumbing every damn mind in America down ...

Meanwhile, the Gulf of Mexico is being transmuted into black tea worthy of biblical tales of Wormwood, in places literally burning, and not too much time is spent broadcasting shots of the tragedy in Nashville, re-awakened volcanoes in Iceland closing down airports in Ireland, soul-sucking stupidity on Wall Street ... and so on.

Last night, Anderson Cooper on his 360 show finally made it to Nashville, Tennessee four days after the storm that claimed at least 30 lives in the region. He agreed that the national media failed in its duties as an emergency responder. Indeed, all of the usual media front-runners to the catastrophic storms were missing. So were the usual rescue angels. As of last night on 360, well into a show that included a spastic attempt at a music telethon for victims of the catastrophe, the ground total had yet to reach a half a million bucks.

"We should have been here sooner," said Cooper, whose show featured Tim McGraw and Faith Hill as recognizeable guides to the disaster. "I didn't cover this as much as I should have this week."

In terms of values ... the point makes sense. As a life or death issues, in Tennessee, 30 people have died in the flooding, and many, many people need immediate help ... Haiti-style assistance. But where is the attention of the media eye focused? At Times-Square, the only thing that died was civility and sanity.

Yeah, it was a New York-centric story, which explains the passion and interest focused on the local threat. But hey folks, as the news media proved this week, that part of the system isn't working. If anything was a success this week, as opposed to a disaster, it was for the terrorists themselves ... both for the apparently lone suspect (oh yeah, that word "alleged" doesn't seem to exist anymore in terrorist plot vcoverage), who scared the life out of any journo with walking range of New York's Times Square ... and for of course whose who make a living on selling fear.

How did the media machine ever become such a tool?

Fear certainly is a mind killer, Yoda might say. Hardly a source for education, enlightenment, understanding ... or good civic-minded decisions.

For example, who are these crazy sheeple running the machines all dialed into the New York Stock Exchange, jittery heartless folks capable of sending the index down 1,000 points in say, 15 minutes? Willing to sell out the whole planet's economy over a riot in a European city? Jeez, good thing we didn't have a machine mind like that in 1776. Riots in European cities during those days were common, but even more, to have a device such as the daily Dow Jones average, a kind of mad media indicator for the general health of, what, a way of Capitalist life, is another simple metaphor for what is wrong in the media, in general, on all topics related to panic and fear.

The media itself needs to do a more conscious look in the mirror about how it handles terrorism. When real violence appears on the fields of sport, for example, I think the NFL does a much better job than hockey, in taking the viewers eye away from the melee, rather than profiting from it. Acknowledge it, warn us yes, but don't go on all day using your contact lists of the same old talking heads to spend the day mooning on what might be in the minds of these nutbags, on how amateur their bomb-making seems to be, and why Oh wny Oh why didn't we learn something this time.

Because, face it, news guys in New York. Though ye may be blocks away, these highly effective if crude weapons are intended for you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Blaming the media? Everyone seems to be doing it, so why not?
Unfortunately, flooding and oil leaks are not new. Not that we should be complacent, and I don't think we are. People packing explosives in the middle of NYC is big--maybe not in terms of number of lives affected, but as a phenomenon, it is.
Markets are markets, always have been.