Sunday, March 20, 2011

Just the Facts?

March 18, 2011

I was fascinated by the coverage of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, but not for the reasons you’d expect. It’s always interesting (but not pleasant) watching the reporters trying to steer the experts they’re consulting into a certain declaration, usually intended to inflame fear or anger. (A certain CNN reporter covering New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina comes to mind.)

The Today Show had a woman interviewing a tsunami expert on what Hawaii could expect. She kept trying to get him to make some dramatic declaration about The Catastrophic Consequences of such a wave; but he only talked about the great warning system they have in place, and how there probably wouldn’t be much to worry about. He never did say what the people should do to prepare for it (which I actually thought would have been helpful, just in case).

At the end the interviewer said, “So, people in Hawaii should get to high ground.” He was like, “Yeah, sure.” But his heart wasn’t in it.

It stinks when the people you’re counting on to sensationalize a story won’t cooperate.

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