Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Media Overkill

OK, so Osama is now officially a stiff, although it turns out that his influence was waning anyway. It should not take away from the skills of the Americans who raided the Bin Laden compound and finally laid the ghost that has haunted the United States for over a decade. It should also not take away from the steely-eyed way that President Obama faced his country's national nightmare.

One more thing we now know: it is probably a very bad idea to play the President at poker.

Yet I can not be the only one who finds the descent of the media onto the smoking ruins in Abbottabad to be pretty disgusting. The place is now a sea of OB trucks, helicopters and well coiffured but mostly ignorant journalists glibly informing us that a few days ago something dramatic happened in the background behind them. The slightest detail is not too small to be turned into a story before said coiffured journo returns to his or her five star hotel in Islamabad and thence via a premium ticket to the first world capitals where they generally make their homes.

Everything must be questioned: that is everything NOW must be questioned. The big picture is forgotten in the search for immediate relevance, and good taste and basic decency come a distant second to a scoop- a scoop such as the gruesome picture of the late and highly unlamented.

Meanwhile a demonstration of Pakistani lawyers does seek to lament the death of the terrorist. Not, I would submit either tactful or wise, but at least it does show us who our enemies are. Now, I for one will know that "Pakistani lawyer" may well mean actually mean "radical nutjob with potentially murderous tendencies".

So in the face of yet another media circus, good taste, discretion and thought take a back seat to shrill and loudly expressed ignorance and journalistic ethics are eroded just a little further. We already know that the media was not listening when the first briefing was given, we already know that a large number of the details they were given- and hastily published- were inaccurate. Yet they continue to churn out the same witless regurgitation of press releases and half baked rumour.

There is a word for what the global media has done with this story, and appropriately enough it is...

Overkill.

It is also contemptible.

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