Every time I turn on CNN
today and see that their top story is still wildfires in Wyoming, I ask
myself, "Is this the most important event occurring in the United
States, let alone the world?"
Why would I want to know
anything about this at all?
What possible journalistic
criteria -- other than impressive visuals of the flames -- would lead to its
selection as the top story?
Even when I was a kid, before
I had any political consciousness, I remember watching similar stories, and
wondering of what concern they were to me.
This bizarre story selection
happens all the time. Why would I want to know that a tornado
"ripped through" a town in the Midwest? Or that there was a
multi-car accident in some distant state? Of course I feel sorry for the
people in these unfortunate circumstances, but when I turn on the news and
want to find out what's going on in the world, such stories are not what I
have in mind.
For local stations in each
area, of course, many of these stories are completely legit. Not for a
national news broadcast.
It's also true that if
there's a really major disaster and relief aid is needed, such stories can
usefully whip up a public clamor for help to be sent, but in so many of
these stories that's not really applicable.
So here's a proposal: set up
a separate cable channel for the reporting of such events.
Earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, sinkholes and tornadoes... to shark
attacks, building collapses and vehicular mayhem. 24/7. It could be
called TNDN, the Tragedies and Natural Disasters Network.
[Attn: Rupert Murdoch
If you use this idea, I want a commission.]