There are three stupid things that TV network and cable news channels do in the wake of mass tragedy or disaster which need to be addressed. Just because the news cycle in this day and age is constant, that doesn’t mean these entities should be engaging in things that sensationalize tragedy rather than just report it. These stupid things are getting more commonplace, given that the world anymore seems to have a mass tragedy or disaster every other week.
Sending desk anchors to the site of the tragedy
Why do the network and cable news channels feel like they have to send their desk anchors to the site of a big time tragedy or disaster? When the events in Tucson unfolded, annoying talking heads like Brian Williams showed up to deliver the news from that city. And even part-time desk anchors like Lester Holt appeared in Tokyo the first Saturday after the Japan earthquake and ensuing tsunami and their after effects. This is nothing more than exploitive grandstanding and a lame attempt to try to get ratings. Let the field reporters deliver their reports from the sites of tragedy or disaster, the ones who really risk their lives and interview the affected to get a story. Places like Tucson and Japan have been damaged enough without egotistical grandstanders like Brian Williams arriving there to make no positive difference at all except to massage their overblown egos.
Sensationalized graphics to introduce coverage
As a recent prime example, CNN has had graphics like “Quake Tsunami Disaster” to introduce segments or the beginning of the their program coverage at the top of the hour since the earthquake and tsunami plus the after effects in Japan. Why is it that these news organizations have to introduce news events like they are sports spectaculars? Is watching the misery of others supposed to be entertainment for the masses not affected? It’s time for the news programs to just cover news instead of try to make it into some televised pseudo-thrill ride or a spectator event that tickets should be sold for.
Calling old news “Breaking News” and the like
CNN is one of the most guilty networks for deeming things as “Breaking News” when it’s not. On Sunday, “Breaking News” graphics flashed across the screen to alert viewers about the following: possible nuclear meltdown fears, evacuation of about 200,000 locals from around one nuclear plant, to name just two happenings around this mass tragedy and disaster. The only problem with that is those news items were widely reported earlier in the weekend. The Fox News Channel alerts, mass tragedy or disaster or not, are especially annoying in presentation, with that dumb chiming, especially when those alerts come one after another.
Tom Langford, Nearly 200,000 people evacuated near Japanese nuclear plant: http://www.necn.com/03/12/11/Nearly-200000-people-evacuated-near-Japa/landing_newengland.html?blockID=439529&feedID=4207, March 12, 2011, NECN