I saw this post on Facebook not long ago and it sums up what much of America has been saying about the news media — especially the television journalists — since the start of the crisis in Boston on Monday:
“He’s dead! He’s alive! He’s surrounded! We would like to remind our viewers that we don’t actually know anything but that hasn’t stopped us from blathering nonstop for the past 15 hours.” Uh, was it 12 shots fired or 30 to 40? Don’t let the facts get in the way here, guys.”
Clearly, lots of TV journalists don’t know what the hell is going on in Boston, but they have to fill up air time so they keep on talking about … nothing.
As one friend of mine put it, about the media’s performance one day this week: “Why can’t the media do better than this?”
Problem is, the journalists do have to fill up time. They, like their audience, are at the mercy of the demands of round-the-clock broadcasts and the Internet.
We keep hearing the same stuff, over and over, again and again: They were quiet kids. No, they were budding haters. No, they were good kids. No, they had showed signs of provocation.
It would be nice if the media could somehow confine themselves to reporting — what do you call it again? Oh yeah — news. By the definition of the word, it means giving the public something fresh that we have not heard before. Instead, they continued all day on Friday to show us the audio and video of the firefight in Watertown, Mass.
Memo to the broadcasters: We all want news. You know the definition of the word by now..