Friday, July 20, 2012

Atrocities Abound

Unless you have been completely out of it for quite a while, you probably already know all about the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado.  Oh, but do you really?  For that matter, do any of us really know?

No, I am not about to stir the conspiracy fires, but at the risk of sounding plumb asinine at a time like this, I would like to focus more of the atrocious reporting of the tragedy in this piece.  The image above should give you some indication of what I am talking about if it hasn’t already been brought to your attention.

It all started around 7:00 a.m. CDT when our television was first turned on, and my wife asked me if I knew about what happened in Aurora a few hours earlier.  I did not at the time, and she went on to inform me that 12 were dead, which was about the same time as I was reading a [MSNBC] headline that declared that 14 were dead.

Yes, I understand that it is very difficult to keep the facts straight when dealing with multiple “official” sources of information at a scene like that.  However, around an hour later, the breaking news banner that could be seen on the screen under a correspondent reporting live from the scene had, “12 Dead, 50 Hurt,” while she was reporting that at least 12 were dead and 38 had been wounded.  Since 12+38=50, was it that 50 in total were hurt, with 38 of the rest being just wounded?  After all, casualty counts from war zones are usually presented as the number of dead being separate from the number of wounded, unless clearly specified otherwise.

[CNN] and [FOX News] were also reporting 12 dead, 50 hurt at the time.  So, do not think that I am being unfair to NBC News.

3-4 hours later, the breaking news banners were finally changed to read, “At Least 12 Dead, 38 Wounded.”  By the time for the [NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams] to air, the reported casualty count stood at 71 shot, 12 dead and 59 wounded.

Be assured that we love Brian Williams.  For he comes off as a highly-respectable journalist with a great sense of humor, which is a combination that my wife and I find very appealing.  So, it hit even harder when during an interview with an eyewitness to the movie theater massacre, we heard him tell her, “We Americans do not make much eye contact.  So, I can’t blame you for not getting a good look at his face,” or something quite similar.

In all fairness, it may have been on account of not being used to the thinner air, or that he was trying to make other reporters feel better about themselves.  For aside from Brian’s comment being rather insulting to most (if not all) who do not live in (or at least spend a great deal of time around) a run-down inner city, asking the eyewitness if she had seen his face was a waste of airtime since it had been already established that the gunman had been wearing a full gasmask.  (Okay, maybe not.)

As for [CNBC], they appeared to be going about their usual business every time I checked.  That is, except for the one time when I heard it being reported that the gunman had a .40 caliber [Glock], another unidentified handgun, a [Remington 870] shotgun and a Smith & Wesson AR-15-type assault rifle.  Granted, he was close, but I wonder how many at both Smith & Wesson and Colt will be all that forgiving?  For Colt is the maker of the [AR-15] while Smith & Wesson has the [M&P15].

No, I am not expecting absolute perfection, but I do hope for much better news coverage than what we have been offered lately.  Alas, in a day and age when one has thousands of news outlets available, I would think that all of the major networks would be making more of an effort to get it as right as possible—albeit only just in the hope of keeping what share of the market they still have.

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