Former college classmate Chris Thomas penned an entry on his blog last month on the heels of the Boston Marathon bombing. Chris wrote about how the zeal of “being the first” with a story causes the media to make too many mistakes and trip over themselves.
He points out that viewers, and society in general, are also to blame for the “gimme gimme gimme” culture of immediate information. We have become so impatient for information right away, that if a media outlet doesn’t crank out the story first, we’ll find someone who will give it to us first.
I felt his post deserves to be mentioned on the heels of two major stories over the last couple of weeks.
I didn’t follow the Jodi Arias murder trial. I don’t know anything about Arias. All I know is this (after I read the back story): her boyfriend was stabbed and shot multiple times, she changed her story several times, and some weird sex stuff was mentioned.
The media is giving us what we want to see and hear: murder, sex, and lies. We love stuff like this.
Is that the media’s fault? Nope. It’s us, the viewers.
Charles Ramsey, the unlikely hero who freed and alerted Cleveland police of three missing women held captive in a Cleveland home for nearly a decade, is not only a household name and YouTube sensation, but his past history is now part of the story. Ramsey has had a history of physical abuse.
Ramsey isn’t perfect. Many of us has had past transgressions that are shameful. With that said, all of us wanted to know so much about Charles, that his past, eventually, was going to be brought up.
Some are quick to blame the media, but as Chris pointed out, we the viewers and consumers of information have to share the blame as well. In our obsessive quench for immediate information, we don’t think about making sure the information is vetted properly, until an outlet like CNN makes a mistake and we take them to task.
So, the next time a breaking story comes across Twitter, Facebook, or on television, show some restraint and patience. If we expect the media to “get it right” than to “be the first”, then we have to adopt that principle as well.