Perhaps the blackest of all Fridays

Friday, December 14, 2012

Perhaps the blackest of all Fridays

It was a bad day in both Connecticut and China, but for me the most excruciating part was the media's hours on end coverage of the unimaginable murders of the K-4 school children in our neighboring state across the sound.

What was supremely annoying was that none of the broad­casters authoritatively knew anything that they were dis­seminating as "news."

The figures reported by WCBS alone during the noon hour fluctuated like "Tailgunner Joe" McCarthy's recitation of the numbers of "card-carrying Communist Party members work­ing in the State Department" he had in his possession.

Just after mid-day, Channel 2 scrolled that there were "16 children dead" at Sandy Hook Elementary School, but that was down-graded to "12" half-an-hour later, but upped to "18" by 1:00 pm.

(At this writing, the actual number of murdered children seems to have stabilized at "20.")

Another element of the contradictory coverage was the identity of the killer, variously described as age "20" or "24," and at one point, the "father of one of the dead children," which he wasn't.

How big was this story for the media? WCBS, WNBC, CNN, WABC, WNYW and MSNBC interrupted everything to cover it, many using video feeds from helicopters endlessly circling the school grounds.

(At the end of the afternoon, WCBS had actually sent its local studio team of Maurice DuBois and Kristine Johnson to do their hour as a "remote," and by 6:30 pm, CBS network news anchor Scott Pelley was "live, on the scene" as well.)

A common element of the media coverage was "the voice throbbing with emotion" as they picked over the freshly-slain bodies of the children desperately seeking any tidbit of information with which to accompany the video footage, much originating from the circling helicopters.

But it remained for a correspondent for the Hearst-owned Stamford Advocate, Maggie Gordon, to plumb the depths of reportage when she published a first person account of breaking the news of his son's murder spree to Adam Lanza's unknowing father.

"His expression twisted from patient, to surprise to horror; it was obvious that this moment, shortly after 1:30 p.m. Friday, was the first time he had considered his family could have been involved."

(This "beat" will likely go at the top of her profes­sional résumé.)

It was infuriating... everyone wanted to be part of the gro­tesque event, and they could care less how they did it.

For my part, at least for the time I could bear to watch it, it was April 19, 1993 and September 11, 2001 all over again.

Like many eleven years ago, I watched in stunned disbelief at the images I was seeing on the screen, slowly compre­hend­ing the enormity of what was transpiring, but during the earlier event there was only anger as forces of the United States Goverment actively caused 76 members of a relig­ious sect, including 17 children, to be burned to death.

(Following the deaths in Texas, Attorney General Janet Reno defiantly took responsibility for that act, but now, almost 20 years later, only the surviving Branch Davidians were ever called to the bar.)

At this point there's little else to say about the tragedy in Newtown, and it is left to our elected hyenas to politicize the event and pick over the bones of what the vultures in the media have left.

O, and the Chinese connection?

On this same day that a 20-year-old man shot up the Sandy Hook Elementary School, a 36-year-old Chengping villager stabbed 22 children, age 6-to-11, in Henan province, yet another in a series of stabbing rampages against Chi­nese children in the past three years.

It was a bad day in both Connecticut and China... but few will hear of the latter.

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