Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Nine and the News


After watching Lost last night, I rehinged my jaw and watched The Nine. I really liked it, and thought it was extraordinarily well-crafted.

One part, though, struck me as completely unrealistic: the funeral of one of the show's hostages was quiet, dignified and lovely. In real life, this tender event would have been turned into a grotesque circus by crowds of screaming photographers, TV vans, cable news reporters doing live stand-ups, and helicopters swarming the gravesite.

Then, this morning, I turned on the TV and saw the coverage of the funerals of four of the little girls killed in the Amish school crisis. Reporters described the funerals as "modest" and "solemn."

Really? That's incredible! I expected them to have balloon animals and an oom-pa band!

If anyone in the news business is reading this, please let me chime in with my two cents:

That these children were kidnapped and killed is news. Because it was unusual. Covering that was fine.

That they were buried, however, is not news. That is what people do with their children when they pass on. (Had the parents instead, say, strapped the children to a rocket and shot them to the moon, I suppose that would be something to cover. But a funeral??)

Private funerals are not something you cover. They're things you should allow to happen with peace and dignity. You can report that the funerals happened, but to film them and show them is unnecessary and creepy.

Those families didn't bury their little girls so you could have B-roll.


gina said...


Thanks, Mike.

J said...

I can't agree more. I am constantly amazed when perfectly normal people who just lost a close loved one in some surprising way (shooting, hit and run, etc) actually take the time and TALK TO THE NEWS. I know I can't speak for them, but I cannot even begin to understand how, in the depths of sorrow and frustration, you feel like talking to those shmucks who have no respect for your grieving and ask the most painful and ultimately stupid questions.

Dr. Ducharme

P.S. Nice to find you after all this time.