Monday, May 02, 2005

Our Stalwart National Media

I can understand how journalists were initially taken in by the Wendy's finger-in-the-chili case. Police finally caught the whiff of hoax and charged the woman, and at last check it's still not established where the finger actually came from.

But it looks like the national news media have not yet picked up the habit of trying to verify the stories they broadcast, considering how quickly the buried-treasure story unravelled. I happened to be watching the morning news programs last Wednesday, and found that the hoaxsters were apparently being interviewed live on two different shows at the same time. Producers were so infatuated with the entertainment value of the story that they took it entirely at face value. Then the cops started to realize something was fishy:
The arrests came after the men appeared on national television to talk about the buried treasure, and police noticed how the story was different each time. One suspect allegedly planned to use proceeds to fund his rock band.
You only have to sit through a small selection of TV news shows to realize that they blew off their obligation to inform the public a long time ago. They should be embarrassed -- mortified, humiliated -- when something like this happens. But it's increasingly clear that the world is being run by people with absolutely no capacity for embarrassment.


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