Thursday, October 17, 2002

57 TALKING HEADS AND NOTHING ON: Sweet Virginia points out the obvious in her clear way:

If you're an American who gets most of your news from television, you probably think of the bombing in Bali in the same category as an earthquake in Armenia—a tragedy with no effect on your life. After all, if it were important to Americans, wouldn't the TV news play it up more? Instead, we've been getting 24-7 sniper coverage (including about five minutes worth of new information in every four or five hours), with occasional nods to the importance of Cuba and the oh-so-surprising results of the Iraqi elections. And while the newspapers and magazines have done a better job, they're still sniper obsessed.

The sniper story is legitimate, of course. It's scary, it's a mystery, and it's close to home, especially for the Washington-based press corps. But it doesn't deserve wall-to-wall coverage, especially when there's nothing new and intelligent to say. The Bali bombing, by contrast, is both a horrible tragedy and a huge international story, with major implications for the war on terrorism. This attack, like 9/11, was brutal, indiscriminate, and aimed at our culture and civilization. And on the other side of the world, it has had similar emotional effects.

I only wish the array of talk show hosts on Fox/CNN/MSNBC were blanketing us with Bali coverage like they are with the sniper. Or gave it equal time or something. Flipping through those three stations last night all I got was killer psychology experts and ballistics experts and whoever else they brought in who had a sniper opinion. At least we got blogs.

UPDATE: Angela Bell directs us to Wayne Robins on OJR, who was thinking something similiar to "at least we got blogs" but more like "at least we got this Internet" and newspapers who put their articles online.

No comments: