Thursday, January 01, 2009

Douchebag of the Week

It's been a while, but I think this week's winner deserves to be recognized for his handling of a shooting story: Jim Armstrong of the Faux News Boston affiliate, with "his take" on a shooting at a movie theater in Philadelphia on Christmas Day.

Here's what I've attempted to post to Armstrong's blog in response, in case Boston's Fox25 decides not to publish it:

Your explanatory post above is almost -- ALMOST -- as dumb as your original spin on this story.

Exactly what about a man being shot in front of his family do you find funny? Or was it your idiot editors who told you to give the story this treatment? Given your weak attempt to justify your take (and backpedal slightly) in the blog post above, I think at least some of the blame is yours.

Before you insult your viewers/blog readers by saying you didn’t find the story funny, realize as we do that you could have treated this story as seriously as any other shooting but you chose to treat it as a funny, “oddball” story.

Also, that angle is probably the only reason you covered the story at all. What relevance does a shooting in Philly have to viewers in Boston? According to the FBI, there were 21,180 violent crimes in Philadelphia in 2007, and 22,883 in 2006. How many of those did you cover for the local TV news in Boston? And how many of them made you and your colleagues laugh?

I’ve worked in newsrooms long enough to recognize that some journalists take a certain amount of unspoken pride in being hardened and insensitive to the violent stories they cover, as though they are veterans who “have seen it all” from their post, which is actually much farther from “the action” than they would care to admit. And you let that fantasy trickle out of the newsroom and onto the air.

Insensitivity is neither an admirable nor useful trait in journalists. Or anyone else, for that matter.

It’s no wonder nobody takes TV news seriously anymore. Especially Fox.

Your cavalier take on a story about a violent crime is a disservice to your viewers, the family of the shooting victim and to news organizations in general. I hope you have enough brains to be embarrassed professionally and ashamed personally. You and your station owe your viewers and the victim’s family an apology.

UPDATE: They've decided not to publish my comment on Jimbo's blog. You know, journalistic standards and integrity and stuff.

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Anonymous Susie Madrak said...

Good job!

1/03/2009 08:49:00 PM  

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