Friday, August 06, 2010
Breaking News: Hysterical Media
Some allegedly reputable news organizations such as CNN scrambled off half-cocked like the Keystone Kops yesterday with reports that a plane had been hijacked in Zimbabwe.
Never happened. It was just a drill, organized by some airport dopes in Zimbabwe. Repeat: The source for this nonsense was an unchecked report from Zimbabwe.
David Chawota, the genius who runs the Zimbabwe Civil Aviation Authority, later explained that the drill -- a fictional 767 airliner inbound from London in a hijacking that supposedly killed 9 -- was deliberately designed to fool credulous media.
"We wanted to see how the media would react," said this aviation genius. "In the event, the drill was a success because all our systems worked perfectly. Police, security and hospital staff reacted swiftly."
Thanks, by the way, to blogger Christine Negroni for the heads-up on this newest media fiasco. Here's another link.
Here's a problem, as seen by me from the perspective of 40+ years (oh, God help me, what have I done with my life?) in the major mainstream media:
"Breaking news," that hideous term. Used to be, news bulletins meant something. Now they're just ginned-up marketing devices called "breaking news" to goose interest in the banal drone of 24-hour television and online media. Breaking news ... breaking news ... breaking news ... breaking news.
When the media, guns wildly firing, fall into their ridiculous double-time march through the invincibly quotidian, the result is a continuing public distrust not just of the media, but of basic reality.
Which is not to excuse the "public," who sit there, persuading themselves that the news of the world is a continuous entertainment spectacle, that what you heard at nine o'clock absolutely needs to be supplanted by noon with a new sensation, delivered and prepared by knuckleheads whose jobs depend on getting constant attention.
Breaking news...breaking news...breaking news ...breaking news...breaking news...