Remembering, Contemplating What News Could Be, Should Be

As I drove to work this morning, I listened to the radio and individuals recounting where they were six years ago on this date when they first heard the news from New York. The stories were very similar, based as they were on early and subsequent media reports. I, with my colleagues, was riveted to the television and radio that day and for many more to come. In dark times such as those, the news media can be at their best; keeping us informed, up to the minute, on new developments and details.

Since that time, though, I have become, in many respects, weary of news coverage that is not essential but, rather, often appears to serve no purpose other than to fill airtime. Many have argued, in fact, that this “news” is actually detrimental. Do we need, for example, detailed reports, complete with pictures, on suicide bombings? Isn’t that what these terrorist organizations want—promotion of their work towards instilling fear via worldwide media platforms?

Today, in particular, I have tried to avert my eyes and ears to Bin Laden’s latest message of hate and lunacy, covered and debated endlessly. Much preferred has been the airing of 9-11 hero and victim tributes and profiles. They are what warrant our attention.

When contemplating such matters, I often think back to my weekends watching football on TV in the 70s. Back then, when an overzealous fan ran onto the field, the networks broadcast every evasive move of this individual until corralled by security. Some years later, the networks instituted a policy of not broadcasting such impromptu “performances” so as not to encourage future imitators.

Perhaps current news decision makers should take note of the long-time, standard practice of their sports brethren. I, for one, don’t need, day-to-day, more images featuring random violence, illegal activity or the ravings of a lunatic. They don’t deserve the airtime—and we deserve better.