I was planning on writing a peaceful, beautiful blog on Paris in Springtime this week. That will have to wait. We are caught up with a terrorist attack in one of our major cities – Boston. We are in the midst of unraveling the pieces, but as of the time of this writing, there are some definite points. As I, unfortunately, queried in last week’s blog, “What surprises are next?” I must admit I hadn’t thought of possible Chechen terrorists on our soil. We watch as if Boston were part of Afghanistan with yard-to-yard searches by men in full combat gear. Truly a war zone.
I, like many others, switched from network to network to watch the unfolding chase. I can tell you that my normal morning show, Morning Joe, was the worst. Joe Scarborough was not on air but called in occasionally. Mika Brzezinski was near to hysterical in her commentary. Thank heavens for Willie Geist who kept a modulated, calm voice. CNN was the best of the cable shows for pure reporting with no hysteria. CBS was the best of the network shows for the same reason.
So, as a close friend put it, here are the following categories that should be listed for future coverage of these situations (and there will be future similar situations):
- Breaking rampant speculation
- Breaking unverified information
- Breaking opinion
- Breaking stupidity
- Breaking self-importance (applicable to anyone who finds themselves in front of a camera)
- Breaking babble (to fill airtime when there is no new information)
- Breaking visual graphics and sound effects (absent any “news”)
If we use those categories, perhaps we will all know what the talking heads are actually saying. And I will add – please don’t write articles predicting the Saudis were responsible based on the first person that was hauled in to be interrogated. Didn’t we learn from the Atlanta Olympics that in the heat of the moment humans will arrest the wrong person?
I have now finished my diatribe against the 24-hour media frenzy and will say that I am glad that Boston is finished with the manhunt and able to go back to its day-to-day life. Boston is a beautiful city and deserves to be its elegant self as soon as possible.