Notes on Political Venality, Pomposity and Associated Stupidity.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Media: It's All About Us!

I watched very little coverage of Hurrican Katrina. Just enough to have an idea about what was happening, and then, in the aftermath, what had happened. My total "time spent viewing" was probably no more than twenty minutes.

Yet, within that narrow window, I was at least three times witness to self-congratulatory, self-serving video pieces in which the cable outlets told us how wonderful and brave they were. This included one report in which a CNN reporter, Jeannie Meserve, was close to tears. Tears? There's no crying in TV journalism! None. The men who were challenged with reporting the death of John Kennedy fought their emotions throughout the ordeal, but they held it in check. Cronkite, clearly shaken by the event, did nothing more than remove his reading glasses and pause for a moment upon his announcement of the President's death.

But in today's participatory journalism, journalists LOVE being part of the story. It turns them into stars and those stars then become valuable commidities which the cable networks can use to boost their ratings. Ms. Meserve's inability to retain a semblance of professionallism is pathetic. Instead of being lauded (which I'm guessing will happen) she should be suspeneded and told to get her act together. But I guess that's the problem; for too many TV "journalists" today, it is all an act.

And you know what? I don't care how you got that "dramatic footage." I don't care that you had to move your satellite trucks out of NOLA and use FTP to transmit a compressed video stream. And I don't care how long you reporters were awake or where they slept or how battered by the storm they were. This wasn't about you. No news story should ever be.