Monday, September 1, 2008

Gustav Stretch

I have a love/hate relationship with the 24 hour news networks. The news is more interesting than whatever most networks are showing, but there's just not that much news to report. As a result, they need to stretch every story. They've been working Hurricane Gustav for all it's worth. There is some value in over-reporting this natural disaster. I'm sure it's invaluable to the local people who have been displaced to see the conditions in the area from which they've been mandatorily evacuated. I do not understand the value of having reporters and camera operators scattered across the evacuated areas, standing outside reporting the news. All of the networks have been doing this since yesterday. I'm not sure why it's better to watch Anderson Cooper try not to get blown away by 100 mph winds, or Geraldo standing on a bridge cursing. I don't think the reporters give any perspective that a strategically placed camera couldn't do. I suppose it makes the coverage a little more exciting - in much the same way the Crocodile Hunter was exciting. As I sit in front of the TV, I am not thinking to myself, "Wow, these are brave news anchors." I'm thinking, "What the hell are they doing out there? There's a friggin' hurricane!" But I continue watching, and I'm sure many others are doing the same thing today. How many of us are waiting for Geraldo or Anderson or one of the various storm chasers to get nailed by a tree branch? Not that I wish for them to be injured (although it would reinforce the instructions they keep repeating for the rest of us: IT'S DANGEROUS!!) I can't help but wait for them to start dodging hurricane shrapnel any minute now. That's what happens when they turn news into entertainment. After a few hours of the same, we expect a more exciting script.

1 comment:

J said...

As strange as it sounds, I liken it to NASCAR. I would say that quite a few people, not all of them mind you, watch just to see the cars crash while making their left hand turns. It's the slight morbidity that we all have inside of us. People turn their heads and stare at car accidents to see if anyone was hurt or watch bull-fighting because of the chance that the matador may get speared in the sweetbreads.

I was kind of hoping to see someone get impaled on a flying street sign.