Dorothy Mantooth is a Saint

Sports, pop culture, and politics, Pittsburgh-style, with french fries on top.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Show n' Tell

Cranky old man alert. Proceed with caution.

So I'm watching the local news last night when something I heard jumped out at me. It was the beginning of the newscast and the pretty young female reading the day’s events was talking about a story breaking on the outskirts of Pittsburgh. She didn’t seem to have much information about the developing story, but assured me that another young lass was on the scene who would give us the details over the phone.

Up onto the screen popped a photo of the reporter, along with a picture of a phone and a map of where the reporter was, just in case I was still confused about what was going on.

The reporter-lady on the scene announced via telephone that she was indeed on the case, but that she didn’t have much in the way of information. However, she said that there was going to be a press conference very shortly and told the anchor lady in the studio that she would be back “later in the show” to bring us all the info. The anchor lady thanked her for her work and recapped to us that the reporter-lady would be back “later in the show”.

The show?

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines “show” as “a public exhibition of entertainment”. Which, I guess, is what the news has become. It just surprised me to hear them come out and finally say it.

Now, before I go any further, I know what you're saying. “It was an honest mistake. It’s only a word." But isn’t the nightly newscast a place where words should… oh, I don’t know… matter? And the fact that TWO, otherwise well-spoken people said it, makes it all the more sad to me. Oh, and did I mention that the story they were breaking on their “show” was about a murder?

We live in an amazing time. News gets to us immediately. On September 11th, 2001, we watched horrific events unfold across the country, as they happened. Unfortunately, the news has also become a race to see who can get the information to us first, so things like things like “words” and “facts” aren't quite as important as they used to be. And if news organizations spent as much time on those things as they do on the graphics and flags and swooshes and crawls along the bottom of the screen, we might be a little better off. Each network wants the flashiest presentation, so you’ll choose to watch them discuss stories about which they have little or no information. I guess that it’s in the midst of all that, that the line between “news” and “show” has become so blurred.

Is this simply a new generation of “newscasters” who don’t care that the news isn’t a “show”? Or are they just not bright enough to realize that there’s a difference?

Either way, it’s a sad state of affairs.

And, by the way, if you know what’s good for you, you kids’ll keep that ball outta my yard.