I wound up seeing the morning “news” while waiting for a ride in a lobby yesterday. The stories? A guy was filling his gas tank and playing with a lighter and set himself on fire. A man pushed a woman out of a moving car. There was a fire at an old folks home, and someone almost died (this one included “live” footage of the retirement home, which was no longer on fire). A wedding party was taking pictures on a dock and the dock collapsed; no one was hurt. A baby bear got in to a guy’s garage, then the mama bear came and got it out. A drug addict kicked his way out of the back of a police car and attacked the cop. Is any of this news? At all?
Okay, fine, the thing with the bear is pretty great. Because baby bears are painfully cute, and the mama doesn’t just come in, she opens the garage door and basically says, in bear, “Get down from there right this minute!”
But that still isn’t news, right? I mean, none of those things affect my life. The baby bear wasn’t in my garage. If they had been I’d have tried to make friends, because I can’t see what could go wrong there, and who wouldn’t want a couple of bears as friends?
There was a traffic report, and that was the most hard-hitting thing to get reported. That was the moment of life-impacting journalism.
I like to think, though, that at least one of the people up there, smiling away with blow-dried hair, is thinking, “I was going to be the next Dan Rather. I could be in Afghanistan. I could be uncovering human rights abuses in Sierra Leone. Look at me. LOOK AT ME. Oh, God, I need a drink.” And that this will eventually slip out on camera.
I know waking up to the complex truths of Syria, or whatever, is not a giggle, but seriously – we scare ourselves entertained with faux news and then the economy tanks, or war breaks out, and everyone thinks, “How did this happen? This just came out of nowhere!” But, I suppose if there’s suddenly an invasion of America’s garages by cute bears, we’re ready…