Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Today's Media Demands

I found myself sucked in again this afternoon. I happened to check for news and there was some. "Plane Hits Manhattan High-Rise" caught my attention fairly quickly. My immediate thought was "Oh crap, hope there aren't more on the way." I figured that they had found a way through with small planes or something.

I then fell into an all too familiar habit of alt-tabbing over and refreshing the page every 30 seconds and expecting new information each time. The story changed several times. Sometimes it was a helicopter, other times airplane, and other times the safer aircraft. So once I saw that it was contained, I switched over and assumed that any second now the name and motive of the pilot would emerge. It didn't for quite a while and the first sign that I saw was an announcement by Yankees skipper Joe Torre. That seemed quite odd to me.

I finally found out the details and that Cory Lidle had passed away. I guess it was engine trouble, we will find out soon enough.

I have since thought about my actions today and wondered what is wrong with me. I am addicted to knowing everything the second it happens. And not only that, I demand accuracy in the reporting and complain to no end when the media jumps the gun. I think I can see why they jump the gun now. It is to get my attention because I am demanding something... anything. I have the sneaking suspicion that too many Americans are this way. We demand to be informed correctly for no other reason than to be informed. It doesn't move us to action or anything, we just want to know. I at least need to stop jumping on the hype train as often as I do.

So the only appropriate response of mine today is to offer my deepest condolences to those who knew the people killed tragically today.


David Johnson said...

I found out while I was sitting in Lenny's eating a chicken salad sub. As always, the TV in the back corner was tuned to ESPN. Nothing very interesting to me was on, though....until the words "Breaking News" appeared across the bottom of the screen, followed by the words "Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle killed in plane crash in Manhattan today at the age of 34" (or something to that effect)....and then they began showing video of the building.

I'm not a real newshound, but I think being informed, about some things in particular (like politics, the weather, or anything that's controversial) can definitely be a good thing. Insisting upon having each detail the moment it comes to light probably isn't a good thing, though. Better to get the straight story.

David Johnson said...

Read this today from Brian McLaren on the God's Politics blog:

"Karl Marx said that religion was the opiate of the masses, and too often, there has been too much truth to his diagnosis. But has mass media assumed religion’s pharmaceutical role? Could journalists and news professionals, fixated on ratings-friendly triviality, actually be today’s virtual drug dealers, doling out the greatest tranquilizer ever invented to put public opinion into a deep, passive, mindless sleep?

To fixate on Michael Jackson week after week after week as if it were a major news story shows questionable judgment if not questionable intelligence. But to ignore genocide in Darfur as if it were not a major news story - that shows something far worse."