Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Katrina Freeway Overpass Syndrome

Anderson Cooper of CNN is mad at the mining company for not correcting the false rescue story more quickly. (Hat tip: Media Bistro's TV Newswer.)

Cooper, though, had a responsibility too, to repeatedly tell his audience that he did not have firsthand confirmation of the story. It is understandable that the newscasters would report the live pictures they were seeing of the happy families, but when the reporters are there on the scene, "Katrina freeway overpass" syndrome occurs -- they forget to balance the on-the-scene coverage happening in front of them with the bigger picture, which in this case was that they had no direct confirmation from anyone who had actually been at the mine.

The reporters on the scene communicated no sense of restraint; when I turned off the TV, Fox News Channel's reporter (Jeff Goldblatt?) was conducting a jubilant phone interview with a hospital nurse along the lines of "Isn't this wonderful news?" In fact, the interview was really a bit nonsensical as, other than her briefly reporting that the hospital was ready to receive victims and an E.R. doctor was helping at the mine, she and the reporter had nothing to discuss other than how exciting the good news was.

Related stories:

Blogger Chuck Holton, who was on the scene, has suggestions on how the massive mix-up could have been avoided, including live blogging of official word from the command center. (Hat tip: Michelle Malkin.)

The L.A. Times stopped its presses shortly after midnight Pacific Time. (Registration may be required.)

Rush Limbaugh said on the air today: "You wait, in order to get the attention of their disastrous reporting of last night off the front pages and off everybody's focus, they'll find a way to turn this into an examination of Bush policies, how Bush doesn't care about union people." (The transcript appears to be available on the "free" portion of Rush's site.)

Rush's prediction seems to already be coming true, as NewsMax reports that a guest on tonight's HANNITY AND COLMES said: "I think it's because of the current Bush administration's policies toward mine operators and their reluctance to take the strong enforcement action that's sometimes necessary."

The Anchoress says: "...particularly since Hurricane Katrina, mainstream journalism has decided it doesn’t need to run on facts; emotionalism is the new fuel on which the press is running."


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