Friday, October 16, 2009

The Boy in the Balloon - Let's Watch it Pop!

The surreal once again took over.  A 6 year old theoretically was whisked away by a weather balloon.

Helicopters, National Guard, Talking Heads – wow this is great TV!

Must watch TV!  Let’s have an OJ chase.

Must watch TV!  Let’s have a chase like the one Fox broadcast for most of the day that Obama won the Nobel.

Must watch TV!  Let’s overanalyze like every other micro-event.

Give me a flipping break.

I am not in the media, I just write on a blog on a really cool site.  The media is a business.  They wouldn’t do this if it wasn’t making a buck.

Come on, we all know a buck is being turned here.

Every cable news outlet ran with this thing.  Every news organization has had their 2 cents on it.  Every newspaper in the country had something on it in their first section.

In between Ed Shultz, or Wolf Blitzer, or Shep Smith’s gaping eyes of amazement on a new UFO is a common theme.  In between Today or GMA family shots of the kid hurling is a common theme.  As every word is delivered to the doorstep is a common theme.

Advertizing dollars!  In between segments, a word from our sponsors!  YEEEAAAAHHH!  I know it sounds almost trite and cynical.

I am calling this a publicity stunt.  The cost estimate to the government is about $2 million.  Those are tax dollars there.  They are being whisked away, floating above the cheering cameramen below.  We the taxpayers are getting nothing in return.

Ok, so we can go after the bonehead dad who started this.  At the end of the day he won’t be worth much financially.  Certainly not enough to justify the public sector cost.  From my perspective, this bonehead dad did this for one reason, to get on the tube.  The media was more than willing to watch this family break up for profit on the Wife-Swap Channel or whatever.  (Any family values commentary can go here…).  He figured he can go one better by setting up his own amateur hour.

The Media is The Message – The Message is The Media.  Where have we heard that before?

I believe the media circus concerning this was set in motion by the media.  At what point does the media have an obligation to pay for its’ content. 

I know I will never get a straight answer for this, but wouldn’t it be cool to see the revenue numbers for a typical Thursday into Friday with no off-the-wall chases or goofiness.  Then look at the revenue numbers for the latest dog-and-pony show.  I have to believe those media outlets made out great.

The least the media can do is reimburse the treasuries of the first responder organizations who went out of their way to be part of the drama of the story.  I say that tongue-in-check - those first responders did a great job just doing what they do.

How much extra did they take in yesterday?  Wouldn’t it be nice for the media to have a 6-year-old’s value system of sharing?  … a 6-year-old’s value system of right and wrong?

Now that would be surreal.

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