I heard about the Charleston Church Massacre via Facebook. I found some articles posted on my friend's site. Nine innocent black victims were gunned down in an historic Charleston South Carolina church; An apparent hate crime carried out by a 21 year old white terrorist. At the time, a manhunt was launched to find the killer. I was stunned beyond belief. One of my Facebook buddies informed me that she lost her aunt, cousin and best friend in the shooting. My heart went out to her and the families of the others. Surely this act of hate would be followed closely by the networks.
I turned on the TV and settled on WLS Channel 7 (ABC) to watch The View. I knew Whoopi and the ladies would have something to say about it. Instead I was greeted by a sea of red jerseys and giddy news reporters. The Pre-Blackhawks celebration was in full force, preempting all national programs. Oh well. I figured the news folks would interrupt the live coverage at some point to report the latest Charleston developments. This tragedy was a big deal like all the other massacres that occurred in the last few years. Those events received plenty of coverage. I climbed on my treadmill and watched the much deserved hoopla as I warmed up.
I walked and waited, jogged and waited, cooled down and waited. My workout was over, and I still hadn't seen an update - not even a crawl - you know the moving information that runs at the bottom of your screen; Just the Whoot-Whoot of the fans amidst a sea of red. Hold on a second! I turned to WMAQ, Channel 5 (NBC) and was met with more "Go Blackhawks", and no Charleston Massacre updates. What about WBBM Channel 2 (CBS)? Ohh crap, the same freakin' Blackhawks coverage with no mention of the massacre! Okay... I was forced to turn to Chicago's WGN Channel 32: Blackhawks, Blackhawks, Blackhawks and no Charleston. This couldn't be happening. What a slap in the face. I was appalled and offended.
I made my frustration known on Facebook. Was it just me or was I being too sensitive? Facebook friends agreed with me. I was livid. They were as well. I wrote a message on Channel 7's wall. It somehow didn't post. That's when I decided to call every frickin' TV station and give them a piece of my mind...in a respectful way of course.
I left a message on the Channel 7 news voicemail dedicated to receiving news tips and comments. I then called Channel 5. I received a live person who actually listened to me and seemed to agree there should have been a crawl at the bottom of the screen. He did tell me that there was coverage in the early morning before the celebration began. He promised to share my comments with the "higher ups". Apparently previous callers had expressed the same sentiment.
I then called Channel 2, after being transferred three times, my call was answered by a woman who was clearly perturbed that I called about the lack of Charleston coverage. Obviously she too was getting bombarded with complaints, but she didn't handle it very well. She said with exasperation, " But it's the city's celebration!" as if that should trump a national tragedy. She tried to get me off the phone. Before she hung up on me, I managed to say, "This is why you're number three! ". I hung up and called WGN Channel 32. The lady on the other end listened and then said in authentic robot fashion, thank you for calling and promptly hung up.
I found out through Facebook, that the killer was identified and later captured. I surfed the Channels and found CNN who gave extraordinary coverage. Of course being a national news station, the Blackhawks weren't their top priority. I watched the President's speech and heard Dr. King's daughter, Minister Bernice King give her commentary as did news commentators and dignitaries. You know, one of the victims, Clementa Pinckney was a beloved State senator and pastor of the church. I guess that wasn't enough for the local networks.
Though I am thrilled for the Blackhawks, I still thought the local networks could have given respectable coverage of the killings while celebrating the win. It gave me the impression that Black lives didn't matter only the color red. Shame on you WLS, WMAQ, WBBM and WGN. #Blacklivesmatter
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