Kill the Messengers

TV news should be ashamed of itself—again

I know this sounds like I'm being cynical, but this is my point, what's really cynical, it seems to me, is this: Take a nation with the most hyperthyroid self-concept in the history of the world; kick everybody's ass for 150 years; help plant a bunch of people on the other side of the world in the middle of a land where nobody likes them, because you feel bad you didn't do anything about the Holocaust until it was too late, and then piss all over anyone in the Middle East who complains about it; build a pair of ultrafucking tall buildings in the most prominent city in the world, taller than almost like fucking anything, and do NOTHING to protect them from the air, in a world of billions of assholes; and then act surprised when something bad happens, like "Oooh, you got chocolate in my peanut butter! You got peanut butter in my chocolate!" And then sell this fake surprise over the airwaves to a bunch of people who are so dead inside they can't cry until they watch 5,000 people die on TV. That's fucked up. That's cynical.

 

I thought about that scene the other night when I switched from 'CCO's rubble coverage to CNN for the latest from Sri Lanka. The tsunami had hit just hours before, so all they had was real information, pictures, horror. The context had yet to be provided for me; the body count, survivor stories, relief, donations, and instructions on how to deal with my grief and how to prevent tsunamis in my life were yet to come. But here was raw footage, feeling, and confusion, and I was honestly moved. After 20 minutes, I couldn't take any more, so I switched back to 'CCO.

Perhaps my inner thumb-sucker realized I would get the respite from the real world I craved. Sure enough, they delivered. One channel down, the worst natural disaster of our lifetime was unfolding, but the Hometown Team was finishing up a bit on kids' waterproof pants. Don was holding up some white jeans. Co-anchor Terri Grucca was holding up some khakis. She told me I could find them at "the Gap or Old Navy," but stopped short of saying it was a shame that those poor kids in Indonesia didn't have any to keep themselves dry.

 

Jim Walsh can be reached at 612.372.3775 or jwalsh@citypages.com.

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