I shook my head as the images flickered on the giant-screen TV in the dealership service waiting room. Pop Tart’s millionth plea for help was saturating the “news” channels. In my college mass media and communications class many moons ago, we talked about the gatekeepers — the editors, writers and other journalists who decide what’s news and what isn’t. As they aired the footage (five times in one hour) of the Pop Tart being loaded into an ambulance, I contemplated what other news–local, national or world–they were sacrificing to show this apparently tantalizing footage over and over. And over. Surely, four or five things must have happened around the world that deserved mention.
But that would mean news people, especially broadcasters, would have to relinquish the new role they’ve given themselves: voyeurs and prognosticators. Instead of telling the truth and broadcasting items of interest that people should know (even if they don’t know they need to know), they wait for the latest celebrity implosion and spend hour upon hour trying to guess what’s going to happen next (instead of just waiting to see what happens and, you know, REPORTING it).