Much of this blog is about pet peeves; and this has long been one of mine. It’s the unseemly knack the news networks have of turning tragedy into strategy; marketing strategy that is.
The earliest example I recall citing was the 1989 Bay Area earthquake, which, a couple weeks later, was followed by local Northern California news advertisements telling us, “No one covered the earthquake better than we did.”
It was bad enough yesterday, that amid devoting most of its newscast to the Colorado tragedy last night, my local NBC affiliate still found time to work in those compulsory, corporate HQ-mandated Olympic plugs.
On top of that, national NBC used the tragic event in Colorado to plug the next day’s Today Show and the interviews they’d feature with victims, family members, etc.
Yep. It’s business as usual. What else should we expect?
Recently, the film “Big Miracle” even reflected the too-real syndrome of how big news stories, which are often calamities – natural or artificial – turn into career opportunities for those who bring us the news, by juxtaposing the opportunistic Kristen Bell-portrayed Los Angeles reporter with the John Krasinki-played Alaska reporter; the latter putting his aspirations aside in favor of altruistically helping free the trapped grey whales.
Though movies ”based on true events” often embellish the story for dramatic effect, this particular narrative wasn’t far from the truth - except perhaps the part about the Krasinki character forgoing opportunity to do the right thing.