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Japanese suffering brings out the worst in our national media

I first read via Twitter sometime on Friday that some network anchors were making their way to Japan to “cover” the disaster there.  My first literal reaction was one of disgust.  This sums it up perfectly:

[L]et’s call this what it is: A publicity stunt, a star-system celebrity-status game where it’s not enough to let reporters do the reporting, but instead the networks want to send their Famous Faces With Big Names.

The purpose is to signify that this is really important news and that their anchors aren’t just Pretty People who read a Teleprompter in a Manhattan TV studio but are actual honest-to-God journalists.   It’s like how, when TV news does a story about Congress, it’s important that the reporter be on camera with the Capitol dome in the background — “See? He’s really there at the Capitol, covering Congress!” — even if what he’s reporting is just stuff that anybody could have picked up off the AP wire.

So now we’ll get to watch footage of Christiane Amanpour and Anderson Cooper walking through scenes of earthquake-and-flood devastation, because it’s important for the networks that we see this story “reported” by their $4-million-a-year superstars.

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.  There’s nothing more important to these people than self-aggrandizement and a desire to feel relevant in an environment that with each passing day, finds them further and further behind every breaking news story.  Thank goodness for other sources of information like Twitter, from which I get the bulk of breaking news anyway.

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