I just read an article about a television news report that made a 4-year sound like a future gangbanger.
Why is that newsworthy for a writer’s blog? Well, I’ll tell you why.
Better yet, go read/hear for yourself.
If the above link doesn’t work, follow this:
Don’t worry, I’ll wait.
OK — up to speed? Good.
Now, as if the original newstory was not bad enough — it’s the apology I want to focus on here. It was on the page for the above link, but in case you didn’t see it, here it is:
We accept responsibility for the mistakes that were made, both in the reporting and editing of the story. The video of the child should not have aired. As soon as news management identified the problem, they took immediate steps to ensure that the video would not air in subsequent newscasts. In addition, we have followed up with our employees to make sure that we all have learned from the mistakes that were made.
I’m gonna use an old english class exercise called parsing, but instead of telling you where the subjects and verbs are, I’m going to tell you where the stupidity in this statement exists.
We accept responsibility for the mistakes that were made, both in the reporting and editing of the story.
Gee, isn’t that nice! Sure you don’t want to blame his parents, the astrological alignment of the stars or the NBA lockout?
The video of the child should not have aired.
Um, no. The issue isn’t that the video aired, the issue is that you made him sound like a wannabe gang-banger instead of an aspiring police officer. Cuz, ya know, every black kid wants to BE in prison, not the guys putting criminals in them.
As soon as news management identified the problem, they took immediate steps to ensure that the video would not air in subsequent newscasts.
Read: “As soon as we realized that black people watched the news, got pissed, called the NAACP and blew up our telephone lines, we knew the joke wasn’t funny to anyone but us.”
In addition, we have followed up with our employees to make sure that we all have learned from the mistakes that were made.
Hum…I’m guessing a day-long training seminar on cultural diversity and racial sensitivity, followed by several free spots for the NAACP, and a couple of donations to inner city schools should balance it all out. Oh, and a photo op of the kid meeting a police officer, of course. He’ll be in the cops arms, wearing his hat. It’ll be all warm and fuzzy. Can’t wait to see the video on YouTube.
Now, there is NO way, NO how I will ever believe that the edits for the video were a mistake. Too many people have a hand in making newscasts for that to have gone through without at least one person’s approval. Hell, I can’t write an article on “How To Make a Ham Sandwich” without needing approval from three editors.
And this is why writers and the media in general are losing credibility daily. A quote from a kid about having a gun when he grows up is newsworthy. The fact that he’d have a gun because he would be a police officer is not. Who has time to tell the truth — we have a general public to
frighten inform! Truth be damned.
Most days I’m proud to be a writer and part of the media. Today is not one of them.