As I was growing up and yes I am a boomer, we only had the six and eleven o’clock news as well as the print medium to keep us informed. I feel that those of us who grew up in that time almost wish we could go back in time. Why do I say that? When cable news came into our lives it created a 24/7 news cycle in which every nuance of a major story could be stretched at length. In essence became voyeurs to human tragedy. Have we become voyeurs to this human tragedy through the Virginia Tech massacre and now with the Houston tragedy? It is not only those tragedies I speak of but anyone tragedy that the media feels will draw us in.
It used to be if there was a major news story, the networks would break into regular programs with breaking news. They did straight reporting of the facts and did not look to dissect the story similar to a science student dissecting a frog in class. When they had nothing else to offer us, they would say, “We now resume normal broadcasting” and only break in if new events occurred. Do you want to know a secret? I used to hate that. Hey, I was a kid back then and did not like the news interrupting my favorite shows. Ah, the innocence of childhood.
Not to dismiss the tragedy in both cases, but what happened at Virginia Tech had every cable news outlet interviewing every forensic expert they could find, every security expert they could find and every psychologist and psychiatrist they could find. They lured us all into a psychosis in which we had to know every little detail of the story. Do I feel it is healthy? Not really. But, yet, I too watched and became increasingly agitated. It was when they started to cover the Houston tragedy; I had to turn the channel. Again, they were luring us all into another tragic story.
The week before it was the Don Imus story that was also stretched to the limit and they invited on their various programs every expert they could find. Meanwhile other stories were occurring and not being brought to our attention. A few weeks before that it was the Anna Nicole Smith story.