Monday, January 03, 2005

Tsunami Update: Let The Media Pedantics Begin

Who thought that it was a good idea to send network morning show anchors to the devastated regions of the earthquake/tsunami disaster to interview survivors of this tragedy? Whoever thought of it should have included recommending at least some basic tact and real understanding for the producers and anchors, instead of what I saw on ABC and NBC this morning. What I saw was a Today Show anchor repeating everything that a man from Sri Lanka (who lost his wife and youngest daughter) said because she wanted to make sure people understood him. Then there was Diane Sawyer from Good Morning America looking way out of her league trying to relate to a group survivors; the syrupy tones of voice were painful to listen to.

To their credit, CBS just had their host talk via satellite to a correspondent there (Allan Pizzey - a longtime, respected foreign correspondent) who didn't interview anyone. I got considerably more information and perspective from the CBS report...

Don't get me wrong. I'm really not criticizing the anchors who went over there; they're doing what they were told to do. I think it's the producers and heads of the programming that may regret trying to get higher ratings out of a disaster in this manner. After all, the world is already watching the coverage of the recovery efforts -- why, oh, why do they need to send over anchorpeople who are used to interviewing celebrities and government officials? How can these anchors possibly hope to relate to the suffering of these poor people? It's a shame.

Best Wishes,

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