Sensationalism and yellow journalism is alive and well in the 21st century, just as it was in the early 20th century when two fellas, Hearst and Pulitzer, discovered it was profitable to sell newspapers with made up news. However, this time around, news travels a little faster and the general public is a little more educated on world events. Back in the day, most people probably did not where Cuba was on a map, much less envision that a couple of newspaper barons could push us to war with Spain over what was an accidental explosion aboard a U.S. ship.
Case in point, October 11, 2006. A baseball player from the Yankees goofs and banks his airplane into a highrise condo in New York City. Within seconds, the media is all over this. Could this be another 9-11? This is probably most people’s first thought, but then there's a moment of clarity to wait for all the facts to come in, as they settle back to blankly slurping down their third latte in front of the flat screen.
You can’t imagine the swelling in Wolf Blitzer’s pants when someone in his miracle ear told him that a plane had hit a building in NYC. The sudden and extreme loss of blood pressure probably made his thoughts momentarily wander to his humiliating childhood. How was it growing up being named after a wild dog shot for its fur? Shrugging this off, Wolf spun into action, by God, he was in The Situation Room! While the name of this room conjures up images of powerful leaders making instant decisions around an oval table, Wolf is merely on a tv set surrounded by halogen lights and college interns who flip him off when his back is turned. His job is not to help people, or even report the news, his job is to keep the gnat-like attention span of the viewing audience on CNN as long as possible.
To be fair, Wolf wasn’t the only sock puppet reporting news that day, but he has a stupid name and I want to use him as my example. Initial reports indicated this was a helicopter crash. Okay, it’s hard to tell the twisted wreckage of a helicopter and a single-engine plane apart, but the media was so disappointed as to the lack of destruction, that they could not accept this damage was done by a plane. Why would terrorists be flying helicopters into buildings? Budget cutbacks? In fact, the video of the initial inferno was looped and edited so that it appeared the building was still on fire long after it was extinguished.
When it was confirmed that this was a plane crash, the media began a synchronized campaign where every third word either had to be “terrorism” or “terrorist,” followed by a hushed “unconfirmed.” Another way to shirk all liability is to bring on a special correspondent, the so called expert on aviation terrorism. What they don’t tell you is that this ghoul has been sleeping in the same suit and tie in a room adjoining the tv studio for the past five years, just waiting for this moment. Wolf even has him on speed dial.
My favorite though is 9-11-01, flip it upside down and you get 10-11-6, the ill reading date of this hypocrisy. Thank you Wolf, that is very newsworthy. What’s that sound? North Korea is calling Wolf, they just lit off another pack of M-80’s in a bunker, you better go report that the world is coming to an end.