Op Ed with Bob Branco – Media Overkill

For all of us, especially those who live in the Boston area, this has not been a very good week. On Monday, two terrorists disrupted the Boston Marathon by planting bombs near the finish line, and on Friday night–finally–the quest to capture those responsible came to an end as the second suspect was apprehended.

First of all, I congratulate the law enforcement officials involved with this investigation for the remarkable job they did. I also take my hat off to the civilians who assisted these officials on all levels. What I have a problem with is how the news media seems to take pride in shoving it all down our throats. They continuously repeat footage–video and audio–of gunshots, explosions, blood, carnage, and anything else that I wouldn’t want my child to see and hear all the time. Yes, this was a tragedy, and yes, you can’t keep the events quiet. What you can do though, as a member of the news media, is to report the events without constantly repeating the same thing over and over again. “Here is a video from Johnny’s lap top. Here is the same thing from Suzie’s cell phone, and now we have a different angle from Bobby’s camcorder.” Enough is enough!

I also don’t like how the media hounds witnesses in order to gather information. After the incident at Sandy Hook where young children and staff were killed in classrooms by a maniac, we heard kids being interviewed about what they saw as they were walking by the crime scene. I don’t think little children should be subjected to reporters after such a horrible experience. If I was a parent, I would make sure that a reporter would not go near my child. If children want to talk about what happened, they should be able to do it with their families, and not while a reporter is shoving a microphone and a camera in front of their faces.

I know why the media does this. Each member wants to outsmart the other by getting the scoop first, so they do everything in their power to achieve their goal. I don’t know how to resolve this, or how those in the media should be trained to behave more casually while reporting the news, but I simply find the entire process annoying, unnecessary, and at times incredible insensitive.

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