I ended up watching some local network television…

…and now i wish I hadn’t.
There was a breakin to regular programming because of a shooting incident in West Fort Worth, which so far has resulted in 1 death and 2 police officers wounded, one seriously.
NBC5DFW went into full overdrive mode, with on-the-scene people near the scene of the shooting and also at the hospital where the two wounded police officers were taken.
It was soon clear that the whole purpose of TV news these days is not to inform. They could have done that in about, ooh, 2 minutes, based on what was not a lot of information, especially since the entire scene was on lockdown because of concerns that a shooter might still be alive and at large. Of course, I had this dream of an NBC reporter sneaking into the crime scene to try and get an “exclusive” with the shooter…(“Mr Smith, can you tell our viewers how you felt as you shot the police officers?”).
The entire 20 minutes was geared towards two objectives, none of them laudable.
Objective #1 – generate drama. I tell you, these reporters could be moonlighting for a TV cops-and-robbers drama. They didn’t inform, they performed. They went into this bizarre Highly Serious mode, talking in hushed reverent voices every time the police officers were mentioned. Then they would snap into breathless “OMG something is happening – let’s go to our man on the scene” mode and quiz the on-the-ground person, eleciting next to nothing of any significance.
Objective #2 – make it last. A two minute summary was spun out to 20+ minutes by all of the faux drama, constant to-ing and fro-ing from the studio heads to umpteen live locations in Fort Worth. A press officer from the Fort Worth PD showed up, but, this being an ongoing incident, he didn’t exactly have a lot that he could say, and most of the content was already known. Nevertheless, he managed to join in the drama by asking viewers to pray for the officers, and the media had to ask him umpteen questions, most of which he could not answer because he had literally only just showed up and probably didn’t know everything yet.
As I watched this cluster**k of a broadcast, all of the reasons why I no longer watch network or cable news came up in front of me in sharp relief. This, folks, is the USA news media. Over-dramatic, obsessed with minutae, spinning everything out, speculating up the wazoo…all of the underlying structural faults were laid bare in one 20 minute extravaganza of almost substance-free faux-drama. But here’s the bad news. We the viewers will continue to see this crap every time we turn on until we stop turning on.


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