Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Atrios writes, Ezra responds and Atrios responds in turn. The subject being the curious tendency for CNN to broadcast, at least once everyday, some story that is dramatic and tragic, but essentially local. This seems odd to Atrios given that CNN is a national, indeed international, news organization, so why the fixation on what are really local stories. Ezra and Atrios cover that fairly well, basically assigning it to the belief that this will earn CNN the big bucks. But I think there is something else that should be noted about this habit. I have no idea whether this is intentional on the part of CNN, I'll leave it to more dedicated conspiracy theorists to hash out, but one effect of this is to leave a substantial part of the population with the impression that these things are going on all the time everywhere. No matter where you live, if you watch CNN, you will hear of the armed robbery resulting in death, or the train wreck or the apartment fire, or whatever is the disaster of the day. And as these things really are local stores they seem, to a lot of folks, to be well local stories. The result is the impression in every town and city in the country that there is a huge tragic accident every day. This decidedly false impression is not good for rational thinking and disaster planning for the nation as a whole. It is a truly unfortunate phenomenon.

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