Monday, July 23, 2012

The shootings in perspective

What a relief it was to pick up the Saturday editions of the Freeman and The New York Times.

There was the chilling news of the Colorado shootings, prominently displayed and sufficiently reported. And there was all the other news of the day, local and national, serious and light.

The horror of the shootings wasn't downplayed by any means. But it was reported in perspective. It was, by most accounts, the most important story of the day, but it wasn't the only story of the day.

Contrast that with the network evening news (CBS) of the night before, as well as the morning program the next day (NBC): Nothing but reports from Colorado.

Anything else going on? No, at least not according to these newscasts.

Our sister newspaper in Denver had page after page on the shootings. Properly so: It was decidedly a local story.

Other newspapers had the essentials and perhaps a sidebar or two. That was plenty. If you were interested, you read the stories. If not, you turned the page.

That's one of the big problems with broadcast news: You can't turn the page. The network journalism was fine. It was respectful and mostly accurate (save for the ABC report tying the alleged shooter to the Tea Party). But it was too much (including the funereal music). There was other important news to report and it didn't get reported.

It wasn't the first time the networks have gone overboard and it won't be the last. It's part of their DNA.

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