CNN and MSNBC are still giving the attack in New York full-time coverage this morning. As far as I can determine, there’s not one thing new or enlightening being covered. Everybody in New York and Washington is being interviewed, saying the same thing they have said every time this has happened before. There is nothing, nothing new to say about this or at least nothing that the cable news media is reporting. Rachael Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell gave half their shows last night to going over details of the attack that had been reported all day. There is a whole world out there, but everybody and their brother had to be shown commenting on the details of this particular attack.
It seems to me that there is a bad combination of things wrong with the coverage of terror attacks like this. First, the obsessive coverage gives more power to the people who have perpetrated the attack. It creates the impression that the threat is more serious in terms of probability than it is. Second, by sanitizing the coverage the media argues that it is taking power away from the terrorists. But, when the public is given a sanitized version of the event, there is no real recognition of the true horror of these attacks. I think if the media is going to give hours and hours of coverage, they should at least allow the public to see the reality of what has happened. This includes dead bodies.
I don’t remember seeing one dead body after the Las Vegas attack. There’s something wrong with this.
Instead of covering the true horror of these attacks, increasingly what is happening is a sort of pep rally. The press conferences given by officials immediately turn into a kind of awards ceremonies for first responders and politicians. It’s just not appropriate to start congratulating ourselves on how great our first responders are when there’s been a terrorist attack. Is this happening just because nobody has anything useful to say? Is it because it somehow makes us feel better if we have something great (first responders) in the middle of this confusing, perplexing problem? It reminds me of a time when I phoned up and asked the head of a death row unit how his officers dealt with living with men sometimes for decades and then having to see them put to death. “We have the cleanest death row in the world.” The guy responded. He went on for at least 5 minutes in the same vein. I thought he was crazy. But this is what’s going on in these press conferences. They spend most of the update press conferences congratulating everybody in sight. It also provides a political photo op for every politician to demonstrate their supposed public concern.
I also don’t understand why these government officials have to uniformly act as if the press is the enemy. There is this ill-tempered, impatient attitude toward people doing their job and trying to give information to the public.
Also, why is it necessary to define every terrorist attack as “cowardly.” Why is this important? Why is it relevant? As I remember, Bill Mahrer lost his job years ago for saying that there was nothing “cowardly” about the 9/11 attack. It might be a lot of things, but why “cowardly.”
Rachael Maddow did do an analysis of the documents released last night explaining why the government thought Paul Manafort was a flight risk. If you missed it, it’s worth looking at. Joyce Vance, former federal prosecutor, pointed out that Manafort had a number of passports with different numbers as well as a cell phone registered under an alias. On Morning Joe, Clint Watts, also pointed out the same thing.
And it’s just 7 AM.