Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Is It Really The End of the World or Just A Snowstorm?
Apologies, first of all, to those of you who are truly in a blizzard. Washington, Virginia, New Jersey, Long Island, I get it. This is some serious snow.
This is directed at the media.
Wolf Blitzer was so excited by the snow that he donned his hat and scarf and walked outside the CNN Washington studios to show us deserted streets. That's probably the best thing I've seen Wolf do in a long time. But the New York stations were downright ridiculous.
NBC dragged Chuck Scarborough into the studio and cancelled all their programming to yammer on and on about the fact that it was snowing.
"Better leave early for work," they warned at a time when you can be certain anyone who WAS going to go to work was already on the way.
"Leave your car behind." Ditto.
All day long they had video of kids sledding, people trudging through the snow, cars crawling along the road.
Isn't this New York? Doesn't it snow here in the winter? Do we really have to act as though this is a major disaster?
It seems to me that a storm that is likely to result in one snow day for the local schools just isn't much of a storm.
I see this as a symptom of the 24 hour news cycle. As soon as anything happens, anything at all, the newsrooms go into hysterical overdrive, covering and covering and covering it until it's absolutely smothered.
Excuse me, weren't we all just in a lather on Monday (sorry - you were, not me) about the governor's supposed scandalous behavior which the NY Times was going to publish? Wasn't he going to resign?
Not only did the governor not resign, he soundly thrashed the Times for spreading rumors without actually providing any facts, or even a story. There's still no story in the Times.
And by golly there was another rumor about the governor today, this time involving ethics. The news organizations pounced on it like starving wolverines.
They've got time to fill. They need stories. And we've apparently reached the point where we report rumors if we don't have fact.
I have no opinion on the governor but I'm disgusted by the press, my colleagues.
We're becoming Chicken Little, screaming the sky is falling every time a flake falls from the sky, every time someone whispers there might be a story that could bring down a public figure.
I've sometimes felt like being a reporter is not far different from being a professional gossip. It feels even worse now.