Thursday, July 07, 2005


I don't like writing about current affairs or politics. The blog world is full of it (political commentary, that is). And it seems to be stating the obvious that it is senseless that terrorist's set off bombs in London's transit system and killed innocent people. It saddens me. But it also saddens me to watch the press and politicians reactions to the tragedy.

I was listening to NPR this morning. I rarely listen to NPR. I find the monotone drone of NPR announcers akin to listening to my high school geometry teacher, Mr. Hogg (you can imagine what he endured with a name like that) lecturing me on the merits of an acute angle. But this morning I had to drive a company car to a press conference at a county emergency services headquarter about what our local transit agencies were doing to beef up security in light of the bombings in London. I had never been to the county's emergency headquarters before and was concentrating too much on finding it to bother and change the radio station. And it seemed appropriate to learn about the tragedy that had triggered the local press conference so I kept the radio on and tuned to NPR.

And what did I learn from NPR? Most of the leaders of most of the countries in the world condemned the act of terrorism. I also heard interview after interview with people on the streets of London about how they felt about the bombings. They largely condemned the act of terrorism as well.

My response? Well, duh. What is the point in spouting that kind of platitude? And what is the point of reporting it over and over?

We have apparently become so enamored with the need to dwelve in minutia, that the press is tripping over itself to find anything or anyone remotely related to a story and then spend 15 minutes going over and over it.

REPORTER: What were you wearing when the blast went off?
BYSTANDER: A shirt and trousers...but I'm not sure what difference...
REPORTER: Did your shoes match your belt?
BYSTANDER: I suppose so, but...
REPORTER: What would you normally be wearing on a day that a bomb doesn't go off in your train?
BYSTANDER: Well...something similar, I suppose.
REPORTER: Back to you Wolf...

This interview would likely be followed by commentary by experts in the field of "Dressing for terrorist attacks."

And before someone yells at me, I'm not making light of the bombings or the loss of life. I'm just pleading that we don't cheapen it with the mundane sensationalism that our media seems to have sunken to.

I'm stepping off my soapbox now and turning off NPR. My heart goes out to the people in London who have suffered.


Naughti Biscotti said...

Thanks for saying it Tim. I happened to hear one such compelling story. Just which famous hollywood movie stars have homes in London and may have been present during the bombings. I'm thinking.... this isn't a real tragedy unless someone famous may have been within 100 miles of the bomb and could have possibly been injured.
I don't care that Madonna lives in London. I would not shed one additional tear if she happened to have been on one of the buses. The fact that all 50 people are complete strangers to me does not make this incident any less tragic.
Great post!

Time said...

Glad I missed that breaking story. But I have always had a bias against electronic journalism. I was trained in print. We looked at television reporters as scabpickers, not journalists.

I saw a local story where they interviewed people down in our bus tunnel (closest thing we have to a subway in Seattle). They asked people what they thought about increasing security on public transit. They managed to find a tourist with what I'm sure the reporter thought was a British accent. Her response was, "I think it's a jolly good idea."

Turned out she was from Australia.