Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Views on The News

My job as SuperCommuter for KDWN requires that I always be tuned in to their morning news show. Most of the time, I enjoy listening to it. I can stay informed on the local and national goings-on while I work. It's the perfect combination. There were a couple of things about today's show that got on my nerves and brought up the question of what is and isn't news.

Example #1: KDWN's "top national story" was about some audio that had been retrieved from the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prison camp back in 2003. The audio is of a 16 year old boy telling some Canadian troops that he had been tortured. No details about what this "torture" supposedly was, just audio from the boy that makes this claim. I guess we're just automatically supposed to believe the word of someone who was captured trying to kill American troops. For all I know, they took away his Game Boy. Point is, there's no story here. The story just lays there. No sizzle, and definitely not a top national story. I'm on record as saying that if it's a vital matter of national security, torture away. If something had happened to Shannon and someone told me they could save her, but would have to use some unorthodox tactics to do so, I'd say open the perps up like cans of tuna. Don't tell me that you wouldn't do the same for someone you love. It's the classic case of building a fire without any fuel.

Example #2: There was an extremely sad story about a missing man who killed his wife and the mother of his four children, and did so right in front of the kids. Awful. So what do we get? A description of the man? The car he's driving? Where he may be headed? No, no, and no. We get the gut wrenching 911 call from one of the children. Sure, it lands with an emotional wallop but is so unnecessary and invasive I had to wonder why KDWN chose to air it (twice). Truthfully, I wonder why any 911 calls get aired publicly. The fact that they may be a matter of public record notwithstanding, airing a 911 call for all of us to eavesdrop on is the ultimate invasion of privacy during a tremendous moment of grief. It's particularly galling when it's the voice of a child who's watching his mom die. What was I suppose to get out of the story angle? It's not sad enough, the facts of the case? I remember how angry I was when the TV networks did us all a "favor" and aired the final calls of loved ones who were about to die in the World Trade Center, and I felt dirty all over. Unless that kid was giving us a full description of his dad and where he was heading, airing that 911 call is exploitation at its worst.

Columnists that write just once a week have it made.

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