I still find myself surfing through the cable news channels (Although I did take a break to watch FOX’s Sunday Night lineup) and still every thought I have eventually turns into a rant. My ranting then becomes political and that’s something that I'm trying to avoid doing in my column. If you have read my past articles you can guess where I stand politically, but I also believe that people who do not hold an elected office need to be held accountable for their action or their lack of action. (As I'm writing this week’s column, I’m starting to see the news channels reporting on non-politicians being held accountable for their actions) I'm sure that in the coming weeks we will be watching Hurricane Katrina investigation hearings on TV or as some elected officials call it "THE BLAME GAME". I can see the Saturday-Night-Live sketch now. We hear Don Pardo announce, "It’s The Blame Game, the game nobody wants to play. Now let’s meet our finger pointers". Then we see a set that looks like the old "Family Feud" set where the Federal Government faces off with the Local Government. Sadly I’m sure the real hearings will be more like a reality show than a game show and there will be no winners in the end.
"Give news a little more time and don't request that they also, in their news time, entertain. We're not entertainers. We're journalists. And we need more time to do our job well."
With CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer about Dan Rather and the news industry today.
March 8th 2005CNN.com - Cronkite: News industry 'vastly different' - Mar 8, 2005
As I said in my Pre-ramble, "I hope through this column I can illustrate how real life influences TV and how TV influences real life and while doing so incorporating some observations and personal stories". The coverage of Katrina's aftermath is a great example of this. Reporters showing America and the world the devastation left in Katrina's wake and the world responding with aid and demanding answers to what went wrong. It is sad to think that it took this horrible event to see reporters do their job of reporting the news. I'm sure younger viewers seeing reporters covering an event in the style of Edward R. Murrow covering the blitz in London rather than Mary Hart covering the Oscars on the Red Carpet must be eye opening. At an early age I saw the news the same way I saw caster oil, you did not like it but it was good for you. In the coming weeks we need to keep watching the news and learn lessons from this event so we do not repeat history and write to the news editors if they go back to dedicating more air time than appropriate to stories like Natalee Holloway. If we did not have Hurricane Katrina the top news story today would be "Britney Spears gives birth".
I have two quotes.
To quote CNN's Anderson Cooper (To Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La.), "Excuse me, Senator, I'm sorry for interrupting, I haven't heard that, because, for the last four days, I've been seeing dead bodies in the streets here in Mississippi. And to listen to politicians thanking each other and complimenting each other, you know, I got to tell you, there are a lot of people here who are very upset, and very angry, and very frustrated. And when they hear politicians slap - you know, thanking one another, it just, you know, it kind of cuts them the wrong way right now, because literally there was a body on the streets of this town yesterday being eaten by rats because this woman had been laying in the street for 48 hours."
And to quote ABC's Nightline host Ted Koppel (To FEMA Director Michael Brown) ''Don't you guys watch television? Don't you guys listen to the radio?''