Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Disastertainment

I have developed a morbid fascination with watching the Weather Channel endanger the lives of weather correspondants by placing them outside in a hurricane, as close to harm's way as is technically possible for broadcast, then letting us watch while they wade through water swimming with human waste, bacteria, water moccasins, fire ants, alligators, submerged cars and metal awnings... watching their faces being stung with pelting sideways rain in hundred mile an hour winds while uprooted trees blow by in the background. Wheeeee!

Now is this really necessary? I doubt it. The rest of the storm footage gives us a pretty good idea what it would be like being there. It's just done for dramatic effect, and I think the technique works. It's hard to look away when you can see how dangerous it is for that poor schmuck taking the worst of it, and I also wonder how those starchy anchor-people would like their nice hair and suits messed up a little.

It's reality TV, and nothing but.

Please don't think I am being flippant in any way about the actual disastrous events. I have been through hurricanes, floods, etc. and feel terrible for the people suffering though this. I am only commenting on the media's approach to reporting on it. It seems that tragedy coverage is presented with entertainment elements that may not be strictly necessary, and only there for the "Gotcha!" effect. This goes for CNN and the rest of them too.

addendum Wed. 8-21: Man, this thing has turned out so much worse than it appeared when I posted this the first time Tuesday morning. That was before the levees broke and the rest of the aftermath began to be reported. Now I'm really glued to the TV newsfeeds unfortunately. (It still bugs me that they design special logos and music bumpers to go with each big news story, but I guess that's the way of the world. [sigh])
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2 comments:

Tan Lucy Pez said...

Yeah, you're right about the smarmy news coverage. But I watch the storm coverage just the same. It's better than a new trial like O.J. or Freaky Michael.

I was okay with watching them wade around until I read, "human waste, bacteria, water moccasins..." ugh...I'm not so okay with the human waste. Oddly enough I can stand the idea of the snakes.

Blueberry said...

I'm not afraid of snakes, unless they're poisonous, I think they're beautiful critters... but there's that poisonous part with the water moccasins and the fact that they swim and I don't. ;-)

Has to be all the stories my mother used to tell me about people dying from snakebite in the water. In fact, those stories could be part of the reason I didn't learn to swim. heh heh..

Oh but flood water is so nasty. There's no telling what's in it!! :::grossing myself out:::