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A Critique of the Boston Bombing News Coverage (Video) 175

Posted by Roblimo
from the horrible-but-not-terrifying-in-a-free-society dept.
David Coursey has spent a lot of his life as a journalist, specializing in IT coverage for most of it. He's written for ZDNet and eWeek, Forbes, and other well-known publications, and has had his stories linked from Slashdot more than a few times over the years. What he is not as well known for is his expertise as an EMT, a field he has been in as both a volunteer and professional since the rocks in California (where he lives) were still soft enough that the Flintstones used them as pillows. He and I were chatting on Facebook yesterday, and I realized that David's views on media coverage of the recent Boston Marathon bombings might be worth sharing. Do you think what he's saying is valid? Do you agree or disagree with him? Or some of each?

Robin:

David: I think the overall coverage, the ‘overall’ coverage has been better than it has been in years past, but I am not sure that you would blame or credit Skype or Facebook or social media with that. I think the media has just learned from mistakes they made in the past, not to get so far out on a limb, with the notable exception of when it was reported that a suspect was in custody. Now I have no question somebody told CNN that was the case, but sometimes sources don’t know what they are talking about, and it was clearly the case in that circumstance.

Robin: Well, they picked it up from the New York Post who picked it from well, the Boston Police Department says, ‘not us’. So we don’t know.

David: Probably a federal investigator if I were guessing, but who knows. They believed it. Everybody wanted to believe that a suspect was in custody. They had just had the videotape, so putting it all together it seemed only too logical that we have an image, we must have arrested the person in the image. That’s believing, I think, in science just a little bit too much.

Robin: I would say. Now what about the medical care on the spot? How did it look to you? Because Slashdot people, you have seen David Coursey in his journalist role from ZDNet and all that, but what you may not know is he is also an EMT guy. And he does that, he has done it both volunteer and professionally, so he is actually qualified not only to talk about the journalism here but about the actual treatment on the spot. David, how was it?

David: Well, if you were going to pick a place to leave two bombs, right across from the medical tent is probably not the best place, particularly at an event such as the Boston Marathon, and at the finish line of the Boston Marathon where reasonably every resource is already in place. They were already expecting potentially lots of people being old, falls, dehydrated heat related injuries; they were all prepared for that. They weren’t expecting shrapnel. But the emergency doctors were there – EMTs and paramedics were there, the people from that side of the street ran over to the other side of the street, immediately started working on the victims, and doubtless, lives were saved. Because this explosion, if there is a right place for an explosion, this explosion occurred at the right place, at about the right time.

Robin: Now let me ask you another question that also where you are in Tracy, California, if this true. One ER doctor in Boston was on TV saying, ‘Yeah, well, also what helped us is a lot of our docs have been in Iraq, they’ve been in Afghanistan, they’ve been volunteers in Haiti, so we have people including me” he said, who have really good experience dealing with wounds and mass problems.

David: We’ve learned a lot from wars. The Vietnam War taught us a lot about emergency medicine, as have the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of the most amazing things I’ve seen in the coverage is a researcher at MIT who does prosthetics who said that a year from now, next year’s Boston marathon, science makes it possible that many of those runners who had legs amputated might be able to run, or at least walk again in next year’s marathon. And that is an incredible medical advance.

Robin: Now I am going to ask you kind of a political question. Okay, do you feel terrorized?

David: No.

Robin: Which are you, afraid or angry?

David: Neither.

Robin: Okay. Then how do you feel?

David: I am sorry the incident occurred in a free society - it is hard to protect ourselves; there are a certain number of nuts out there. I am happy that an Al Qaeda affiliate hasn’t claimed credit; I am happy that this doesn’t appear to be a war on America. But we’ll just have to see what happens in terms of arresting a suspect and bringing people to justice for this crime.

Robin: Okay. So if you are supporting a terrorist group, and you want to terrorize America, this is a failure, isn’t it?

David: This would not be the best way to do it. Nobody is particularly terrorized by this. If anything, we are seeing that ‘send us evil and we will throwback a lot more good in its face.’I think that is going to be the long term legacy of this tragedy that yes people died, yes, people were injured, some of them very severely, but the response is going to be what people remember.

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A Critique of the Boston Bombing News Coverage (Video)

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  • The big rush (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rurik (113882) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @04:07PM (#43486963)

    We need a story now, quick. We need something to put on airtime because our marketing is calling around our advertising clients to see who wants to bid on the next hour of airtime. The big need to get something up quick, even if it's very low quality, such as a poorly recorded video interview without a transcript... oh, wait...

    • by peragrin (659227)

      Oh you forgot, we need to be the first so screw fact checking by calling the police dept to see if they actually arrested any one and just run the story that they did arrest someone based on unconfirmed rumor.

    • Re:The big rush (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AK Marc (707885) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @04:30PM (#43487211)
      Can we get a story critiquing the critiques of news coverage? Then a round of critiques of those? How do I know which critique to pay attention to when the critique critiques aren't out yet?
      • I'm sure it'll come up sooner or later if you follow Poynter [poynter.org] -- they cover journalism / misdeeds of journalists / etc.

        They've got a pretty good roundup of criticisms [poynter.org], mostly in regard to some news channels refusing to apologize for their errors.

    • by ISoldat53 (977164)
      I saw one story in the newspaper that was just a list of times of who reported what and who was first with what. Read like a re cap of a football game.
    • Re:The big rush (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ackthpt (218170) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @04:59PM (#43487459) Homepage Journal

      We need a story now, quick. We need something to put on airtime because our marketing is calling around our advertising clients to see who wants to bid on the next hour of airtime. The big need to get something up quick, even if it's very low quality, such as a poorly recorded video interview without a transcript... oh, wait...

      Back on Sept 11, 2001, the media were far worse. Network and news outlets on television and the web were trying to outbid each other on the body count. 5,000, 15,000, could be has high as 40,000. Really appalling. They didn't know what else to do in their own confusion, but play the horrifying videos over and over and try to make the whole thing as grim as they could, to keep viewers glued and ultimately numbing them.

      I have a book with collections of newspaper front pages from December 7, 8, 9 ... 1941. Back in that day the news focused on what was known, body counts were off the pages for the first few days and then only included known dead. The final tally wasn't truly known in the news for almost one year. News moved slower, people gave themselves more time to think.

      The idiocy of the AP running a rumor of an arrest and showing how quick every other outlet is willing to parrot this and seek confirmation later, showed what a swarm of locusts mentality there is in the media these days.

      • I remember a quote from a while back that said "We don't have reporters these days, only stenographers" Which is true more and more each day. Almost nobody fact checks anymore they just spew it out as fast as they can write it down. Sure some of the more local places are better but the bigger news companies its getting rarer and rarer.
      • We went through similar reporting in the UK on the tube/bus bombings. I watched that reporting as it happened, on two channels at once - not because I care to be that up-to-date, but because the reporting itsself interested me. Sky News and BBC. Both reported a lot of things which were soon after revealed to be false - varying estimates not just for the casualties, but the number of bombs!

        This is what the public seems to demand now. News reporting just seconds behind events, from the front line, as it happe

      • Blame 60 Minutes (Score:4, Insightful)

        by BLKMGK (34057) <`moc.liamtoh' `ta' `em4knujerom'> on Thursday April 18, 2013 @08:44PM (#43488929) Homepage Journal

        No, seriously. Up until 60 Minutes came along News was considered a sort of loss leader for networks. It was something they felt required to have but no one expected to make money at it. They simply reported the facts and tried to guess the weather. Then 60 Minutes came along. No one expected it would make money. I mean a news show making money? No way! Surprise, it made money. It did REALLY well. Everyone had to have one and then they began to realize they could draw eyes to their news shows. Ever since then it's been downhill. We now have multiple channels dedicated to nothing but "news" and by god if there's nothing exciting going on we'll dig something up! Investigative reporting? Meh, not so much. That requires time and work and someone might scoop us! No, now they just report things as fast as they can and they make them as exciting as they can to draw eyes. The more fear the more people turn on their TV sets and gawk at the shows and yes inevitably the ads. the commercialization of "news" was one of THE worst things to happen to television and hell even print media. One need only look as far as the grocery checkout to figure out how that went too. Why we've even got news channels that skew and spin their views for specific markets. How else can you explain the Faux News channel and CNN and MSNBC all spinning the same stories in different directions? they have all targeted a demographic for their "news" and want eyeballs for their ads.

        Frankly it's pretty damned disgusting and disheartening. If you're old enough at all to remember a time when we had news shows with just a scrap of integrity you realize just how far we've fallen all in the name of making a fucking dollar. Bleah!

        P.S. Think I'm full of it? My citation after a 5 second Google search... http://www.nieman.harvard.edu/reports/article/102153/The-Transformation-of-Network-News.aspx [harvard.edu]

        • by s.petry (762400)

          Not that long ago, around 10'ish years every major news agency had investigative reporters. Living in Detroit, there was Steve Smith covering the Kwame scandals. Before that, he had stories on corruption in all kinds of other areas. Public service workers (tracking them working a few hours a week getting paid for 40 hrs), police corruption, utilities corruption, etc.. It was the highest rated show in Detroit for years. It was real journalism.

          Long before Kwame went to trial for anything big, they fired h

    • If you don't like it, use non-profit news outlets. I do not use for-profit news sources anymore (CNN, etc.).

      Sites like /. don't count - they're not really news sites per se, they're more aggregators, and focus on specific niche areas - I'm talking more in the scope of general daily news sources.

  • by fnj (64210) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @04:09PM (#43486977)

    Coverage has been one completely bogus claim after another, always from unnamed sources.

    Blast from second floor inside building. Oh wait, no it wasn't.
    Two bombs placed in trash cans. Oh wait, no they weren't.
    Authorities have found and "blown up" a number of other bombs. Oh wait, no they haven't.
    A dark skinned suspect has been arrested. Oh wait, there is no such suspect.

    • by Bigby (659157)

      Many of them can probably be explained by the tried and true game of telephone. While they didn't blow up other bombs, they blew up suspected bombs. That would account for (1) and (3). The bombs had metal fragments, so a 1st responder was probably like "were these in a trash can?". An innocent mistake, as at least one was in a pressure cooker (2).

      I don't know about (4), but they did ask a whole lot of people questions...I'm sure one was "dark skinned".

    • by Culture20 (968837)

      Oh wait, there is no such suspect.

      http://www.fbi.gov/news/updates-on-investigation-into-multiple-explosions-in-boston/updates-on-investigation-into-multiple-explosions-in-boston

  • Dunno. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 18, 2013 @04:10PM (#43486983)

    Why not ask us again in a day or two (when the transcript is ready).

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday April 18, 2013 @04:10PM (#43486989) Journal
    I can't seem to play the video and there's no transcript but I was impressed with Jon Stewart's drawing and quartering of CNN's coverage [gawker.com]. He hit the nail on the head of what "journalistic integrity" has fallen to. Jon Stewart was saying CNN had an 'exclusive' story on the arrest ... exclusive because there was no arrest.

    Get on Twitter, say some stuff that sounds legit. Sit back and watch it retweeted, then it'll hit the blogs and finally the 'news.' And all they have to do is try to track down the original source (you) but they seldom do. And that's what "crowdsourced" news has come to. Whenever someone heralds the amazing results from crowdsourced news, it's always post hoc cherry picked results of an actual first hand account or someone who got it right. They seldom look at the entire volume of tweets prior to what we know is true and what is conjecture/wrong.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      here it is [crooksandliars.com]

      Funny as hell, too.

    • He was hilarious last night, as the best of humor always contains an uncomfortable truth within it. I will view the broad spectrum of newscasts from time to time to see how each is reporting the same event, but in matters on the order of 9/11, CNN has always been my go-to newscast. I find my old jaded self still capable of disappointment today. Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, a wretched whore, and an honorable journalist are at a crossroads, equidistant from a pile of gold at the intersection's center. Th
    • by Solandri (704621)

      Get on Twitter, say some stuff that sounds legit. Sit back and watch it retweeted, then it'll hit the blogs and finally the 'news.' And all they have to do is try to track down the original source (you) but they seldom do. And that's what "crowdsourced" news has come to.

      That's pretty much how gossip works. In their rush to embrace "social media" and incorporate crowdsourcing into their reporting process, the news organizations have lost sight of what distinguished their profession from mere gossip - a bon

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I can't seem to play the video and there's no transcript but I was impressed with Jon Stewart's drawing and quartering of CNN's coverage. He hit the nail on the head of what "journalistic integrity" has fallen to. Jon Stewart was saying CNN had an 'exclusive' story on the arrest ... exclusive because there was no arrest.

      Get on Twitter, say some stuff that sounds legit. Sit back and watch it retweeted, then it'll hit the blogs and finally the 'news.' And all they have to do is try to track down the original source (you) but they seldom do. And that's what "crowdsourced" news has come to. Whenever someone heralds the amazing results from crowdsourced news, it's always post hoc cherry picked results of an actual first hand account or someone who got it right. They seldom look at the entire volume of tweets prior to what we know is true and what is conjecture/wrong.

      Get on the TV news, say some stuff that sounds legit. Sit back and watch it repeated, then it'll hit the national consciousness and finally be considered "news". And all they have to do is try to track down the original source (you and your news network) but they seldom do. And that's what "news" has come to. Whenever someone heralds the amazing results from the news media, it's always post hoc cherry picked results of an actual first hand account or someone who got it right. They seldom look at the entire

  • by Bruce66423 (1678196) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @04:11PM (#43487001)
    Whatever else this story will do, it will further undermine any objection to CCTV cameras everywhere, especially if the bomber gets caught as a result of them.
    • by Cornwallis (1188489) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @05:21PM (#43487597)

      "The only thing I ever saw that came close to objective journalism was a closed-circuit TV setup that watched shoplifters in the general store at Woody Creek, Colorado," wrote the late, great Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.

    • by idlake (850372)

      A lot of "CCTV" cameras are private webcams on people's private property. You're saying I shouldn't be able to put a webcam in my window and make the pictures publicly available? I shouldn't be able to take pictures in public spaces? Why not? Should press be permitted to do so?

      And if the bombers get caught, doesn't that indicate that these cameras may be useful after all? I mean, the objection to them used to be that they didn't actually help in catching criminals, but one can revise that belief in light of

  • transcript or GTFO (Score:5, Insightful)

    by X0563511 (793323) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @04:15PM (#43487065) Homepage Journal

    If I wanted video I'd be on Youtube.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Seriously, this * 1000. Sorry DICEdot, but this isn't what I come here for.

    • If I wanted video I'd be on Youtube.

      What did we say overwhelmingly in a recent poll? Something about you should implement what the customer wants, not what the developers want? The world would be a happier place.

    • by Tom (822)

      mod parent up.

      What's this? a clickbait? a troll? really? You have something to say, just say it. Don't make me click a video. I can read faster than most people can talk, so write it out, or I just don't give a fuck. I might care after I know at least the gist of what you want to say, but "hey, this dude has something interesting to say" isn't getting me to listen. There's a billion people on the Internet who all think they have something important to say.

  • Just wondering if all you MSM types can get off your 24/7 cycle and stop going over and over and over this.

    My cousin is home from the hospital and her two knee surgeries, and the FBI has the shrapnel from her leg.

    K, thanks.

    P.S.: Most of my family is NOT WATCHING your coverage. At all.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 18, 2013 @04:29PM (#43487203)

      The concentration on the Boston bombing is ridiculous considering that Iraq had twenty car bombings that same day. It's ridiculous that they dropped every single other news story to cover only the Boston story, and then repeated the same five minutes' worth of information 24 hours a day. They may as well have shut off the antenna at that point.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The concentration on the Boston bombing is ridiculous considering that Iraq had twenty car bombings that same day. It's ridiculous that they dropped every single other news story to cover only the Boston story, and then repeated the same five minutes' worth of information 24 hours a day. They may as well have shut off the antenna at that point.

        To quote the Ninja Turtles cartoon:
        "Dog bites man? that's not news, Man Bites dog, that's news!"

        The significance of a news story is inversely related to how frequently similar incident occurs. Bombings happen all the time in Iraq so they are only rarely worth international news coverage. Bombings like this are almost unheard of in the United States, which makes it more significant news.

        However I will grant you that 24 hour coverage was unnecessary.

        • by tehcyder (746570)

          To quote the Ninja Turtles cartoon:

          "Dog bites man? that's not news, Man Bites dog, that's news!"

          That was around a long time before the Ninja Turtles ever hatched. As in, the late Nineteenth, early Twentieth century.

      • Yesterday, the local (as in, this town) news website reported a death from a road traffic incident as the top news story.

        That death wasn't reported on the national news, nor was it international news. Why not? Because several people probably died in the same manner that day nationally, and hundreds globally.

        So why did it make the local news? Because it was relevant to the locality!

         

    • by AK Marc (707885)
      The most important question is, does she get the shrapnel back after the trial (if any)?
    • by unitron (5733)

      Hope your cousin makes full recovery and does so soon.

      Were you previously Will in Seattle around here?

  • by Atticka (175794) <atticka@sandboxc ... com minus distro> on Thursday April 18, 2013 @04:23PM (#43487149)

    Where to begin...

    The competition to get to the story first is too great and often over shadows the duty of the new to check facts and report an unbiased account of events.

    What is missing is any sort of repercussions for reporting false facts, who do we hold accountable? Unfortunately good news simply does not pull in the desired ratings and ad revenues.

    • And that "competition" is complete bunk. People don't care who has a story first. They go to their usual outlets, and the stories are reported there whenever the info reaches them. The reason they go to the sites or news stations/programs they do is because they prefer the coverage or style of reporting that's going on there.

  • by hsmith (818216) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @04:25PM (#43487167)
    CNN/NBC/Fox all want to be the first to get the story out. No matter what, for some reason being first though bad info - is good.

    Then, they have hours of airtime to fill. So they use unknown "fact" combined with stupid pundits to just fill airtime. It is a bunch of shit in summation.
    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      CNN/NBC/Fox all want to be the first to get the story out. No matter what, for some reason being first though bad info - is good.

      Then, they have hours of airtime to fill. So they use unknown "fact" combined with stupid pundits to just fill airtime. It is a bunch of shit in summation.

      It's the evolution of news. All the media has taken the blogger threat seriously - thinking that they have to compete against Joe Schmoe with a blog reporting on news, and being able to do it quicker means catching up on

      • by dgatwood (11270)

        The problem is that they haven't taken the blogger threat seriously. They've knee-jerked. There's a difference. A serious response to the blogger threat would involve using bloggers as a source of tips, and seeking confirmation before they actually report things, or at the very least, making it clear which reports are unconfirmed.

        Instead, their response has been to report faster and less accurately. Thus, ironically, the very actions they took in response to the blogger threat have eliminated the sole

    • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @05:17PM (#43487577)

      CNN/NBC/Fox all want to be the first to get the story out. No matter what, for some reason being first though bad info - is good.

      In other words, the fourth estate has been reduced to the level of a slashdot first post.

  • People on the inside are giving out information they don't have to people on the outside who don't verify it. Both are primarily motivated by trying to make a name for themselves.

  • It is domestic terrorism it IS war against America.

    And prosthetics may have gotten better, but I know DARPA is also working on some regenerative goodies. In fact there is at least one soldier walking around today who re-grew his own thigh muscle due to a powder of sorts that helped the tissue re-grow as opposed to forming scar tissue. It's fascinating stuff. And I'd much prefer regenerative versus prosthesis.
  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @04:41PM (#43487317)

    Everyone thought dedicated news channels would mean dedicated new coverage. These for-profit news channels are trying to maximize their news coverage dollar and that usually means making the most out of the least. Late last night I watched a sheriff interviewed who was extremely careful not to give out even estimates of numbers. He was very disciplined and never speculated; at the most saying it could have been a criminal act or it could have been an industrial accident.

    When a reporter was later asked to summarize his comments, she emphasis (paraphrasing) "he said it *could* have been a criminal act. That's an interesting choice of words." So even when there's no news, that gets turned into something!

    Look at the Jodi Arias trial that's been featured on HLN for weeks now. An open-and-shut murder tiral about a pretty girl with some irrelevant sordid sexual details has become their primary focus and they're milking it for every last graphic sexual and violent detail.

    • I stopped watching HLN the moment Nancy Grace(less) went for the ratings grab interview of that kidnapped girl and kept pressing her for details if she was raped. Grace was pushing for any statement from the girl that would make the next days headlines, and showed what a lousy, heartless and uncaring bully she really is. That she still has a show is disgraceful.

      Come to think of it, that was the moment I lost interest in most any type of sensationalist news coverage on TV. If you are only reporting conject

    • The OJ Simpson coverage laid the groundwork for the kind of breathless "journalism" we see today. Frankly I don't watch TV news any more. It's nauseating.

      • I quit watching TV in 1983 in the UK because even then it was apparent that everything on it was heading towards being packaged as limp light entertainment. 24 Hour news took the news all the way. I feel sorry for my parents who still watch it and are depressed because they think civilization is falling apart. There is lots more going on in the world than rapes of 11 year olds or measles outbreaks or bombs at Marathons, a million refugees from Syria or two or three habitable planets being found come to mind

        • An old adage is, "Bad news sells newspapers", and bad news on TV keeps people tuned in through the commercials. Staying away from television altogether might just lead to a happier life, if not just not paying for cable every month.

          There is a lot of good going on in this life, but you have to look for it.

          • Even older adages are: "Ignorance is bliss." and "Knowledge is power."

            If only we had that choice. Unfortunately we don't get actual knowledge in the news. Which, as you say, leaves only the 1st option as a viable alternative.

            But maybe (tinfoil hat here) that is intentional. Less knowledge to the plebs, means less power to the plebs.

        • by tehcyder (746570)
          TV news can only give a selective view of what's going on. The same is true of every other sort of media, but at least with a newspaper you get the opportunity to read about travel news, minority sport news, theatre review news, or many other types of niche interest (as well as a broader coverage of national and international news). And at least you are exposed to a variety of things, both good, bad and neutral.

          But TV/internet news is good for immediacy, I just don't see why you feel your parents are be

      • by sysrammer (446839)

        The OJ Simpson coverage laid the groundwork for the kind of breathless "journalism" we see today.

        I think you nailed it.

  • People have been complaining about CNN and 24hr news since it went on air. Did it help? No, because you still tune in and they get paid. Stop watching it, or it will stay around.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 18, 2013 @04:52PM (#43487403)

    Seriously, stop fucking watching the 24 hr news channels. If you all weren't watching, then they wouldn't be making any money. You can't complain about something that you regularly participate in willingly. No one is FORCING YOU to pay attention to this fucking shit.

    • by LoRdTAW (99712)

      I take the news in small doses. To be honest the only coverage of the boston marathon bombings I have read came from Slashdot and the few links that were posted. When the Sandy Hook shootings happened I also only skimmed a few slashdot articles and links.

      I firmly believe the 24 hour news coverage and other non stop forms of reporting of major incidents are more harmful to the public than the incidents themselves. What I mean by harmful is the stress it induces in everyday people who are what I like to call

  • Looks like (Score:1, Funny)

    by amightywind (691887)
    Looks like muslims to me. We need to get them out of the country.
  • It sounds odd to say it in this day and age, but there is simply too much coverage of breaking events like this.

    We all act as if those stupid ignorant media people are ridiculous, but they are just doing what every one of us does. We speculate, we come up with little stories and runors. Here you have someone talking to a clip of the carnage, that is compiled from 20 or so pieces, being shown over and over again for 30 minutes, and they have to say something. So you get stupid stuff being said. Just like w

  • by linebackn (131821) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @05:55PM (#43487855)

    Most of the "news coverage" right at the start could have been replaced by a 5 second looping animated GIF.

    Worse yet, a few hours later some of the stations around here were showing repeating footage clips of people running and screaming with no obvious indication it was recorded earlier to try and make it seem like it was still happening.

  • by b4upoo (166390) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @07:38PM (#43488505)

    The most pressing point is not about Boston and may have nothing to do with Al Quiida at all. The real problem is frequency of incidents.
    We are seeing more and more people or groups acting out in violent ways. The media and politicians can make remarks all day long but the public is
    missing the point. Here we have several bombs made from pressure cookers. About one week back we had some nut attack 14 people with some sort of box cutter or utility knife. In the mean time we have had organized killings of people in public jobs such as prison wardens. Then we have the recurring loonies who have urges to shoot school kids or even college kids. There are so many incidents it is hard to keep track of them. I do not believe it is bad diet or lead in the drinking water. I think we simply have a population under too much pressure and people are acting out. Yet our politicians will not address the real problems. For example many in congress would like more background checks on gun purchases. They are smart enough to give lip service to claim advancing the mental health care system but that is a huge lie. America has never funded mental health and is not about to provide decent funding for mental health. And it gets even worse. The fertilizer plant explosion in Texas may well be a worse problem than the Boston incident. The company involved has already admitted that they failed to have mandatory fire and incident equipment in place. In a very real way that company may well have been far more outrageous than the nut that placed the bombs in Boston. Yet media won't jump on it at all. I can also tell you that Ft. Lauderdale had a fertilizer plant burn a few decades ago and the responding firemen came down with cancer almost universally. Apparently the gasses expelled in a fertilizer plant fire tend to be very, very lethal in the long term. Where is the media on this? Frankly American news media is really in the crapper these days.

  • ... and he considers himself above the fray of bad journalism?

    .
    Talk about the irony of narcissism.

  • News networks don't reports news. What they do is 24/7 real life drama. If they simply changed the "news" on their labels to "reality TV" all the issues would be solved.
  • This was a great interview. Thank you Slashdot for not being tunnel visioned into only tech.

  • Charlie Brooker did a longer series (NewsWipe) on the problems of reporting in the 24h rolling news world and the overall decline of TV news journalism over the years; check them out on YouTube.

  • At the beginning of the television age a half century ago Ray Bradbury predict the media's perverse relationship with realtime crime as a side-plot in his novel Fahrenheit 451. In the book there are even "fake crimes" or incorrect victims just to keep the excitement up. The OJ Bronco chase 20 years ago was a milestone in this genre. I personally remain skeptical about early so-called facts in a crime scene. Incorrect data gets passed around by rumor easily.

    I wonder how the newest media, social media,
  • I noticed the Media kept saying the explosions where AT the Farmont Plaza Hotel for several hours afterwards. When even a cursory comparing of the many photos to Google maps showed they were in fact several hundred meters away.

When you make your mark in the world, watch out for guys with erasers. -- The Wall Street Journal

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