Maybe the media should shut up about Ferguson

After all, so many in the media have been telling everyone else to shut up. And perhaps they should. There's always an "activist," "law enforcement official," "commentator," "social scientist" and an endless array of "experts" yet to be interviewed. Good God, this could go on forever.

But who's giving voice to all the these provocateurs, poseurs, fanatics and liars? The media are.

We're treated to endless "coverage" by out-of-town reporters who are "sent to the scene" to gather the "very latest." Which usually consists of  unfounded rumors, emotional rants, needless speculation, absurd speculation and rampaging ignorance. What needs to be done is to pack up the cameras, pocket the tape recorders, stow  the reporters notebooks, recall the hundreds of correspondents and just shut the ef up.

What, not report on what's going on? Not analyze and comment on the "deeply rooted causes" or who's "to blame?" It seems like an odd thing for someone (myself) who graduated from what used to be called a journalism school (Marquette University) and spent some four decades working as a journalist (although I guess we're not called that anymore). Aren't journalists supposed to be "shining a bright light on" stuff? Severing the essential function of "informing the people" in a democracy so they can make wise choices (or at least the minority that still bother to vote)?

Yeah, we're supposed to be doing all of that. Dare I say, responsibly? With an eye to culling out the BS and the patently self-serving? What would happen if the local police chief or an Al Sharpton called a press conference and no reporters or cameras showed up? Of if they did, what the assorted blockheads, speculators and rabble-rousers said never showed up in print or on the air?

What I'm suggesting is heresy in today's digital flood of information. And truly unrealistic because there's not an editor or producer in the country who wants to be "scooped" by another "outlet." Or by the social media. Maybe it's just a fanciful, utopian yearning for when (if ever) journalists actually exercised not just "restraint" but also judgment.

Related from Zay Smith: "And it makes for such good TV.

What do you think?

Comments

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  • Riots are ratings ....nuff said and it'll do till the next crisis comes along I wonder if they'll still be there when it's time for the clean-up?

  • You can't resist your customary hyperbole, but you have a point. I think all of us would (or should) agree that over the years we as a people owe much to competent, aggressive journalists. However, I think in recent years we have seen too many instances in which highly competitive self-declared "journalists" act like they are above the law and norms of common decency. It may be that places like Ferguson will feel more threatened by the hordes of reporters than by either rogue cops or outside troublemakers..

  • If Ferguson is anything like Chicago, young, black males have more to fear from each other than from either the police or the press. And that ain't no hyperbole.

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