A FEW WORDS ABOUT PARIS …

Horrible. All the deaths, all the murders. What terrible things we do to one another. Unspeakable.

To all of you who rather than offering condolences or words of comfort chose instead to use this moment to point out how media hasn’t given enough “air time” to other, equally despicable acts of violence in other parts of the world … well.

french flag flying

What can I say about that?

Do you feel the amount of attention press gives to an act of terror in some way makes it better or worse? There’s no rating system for tragedy. The fundamental problem remains. Human beings can’t seem to stop slaughtering one another. And now, apparently we’ve lost the ability to experience empathy.

For those of you who felt obliged to point out the inequity of news coverage, as if this has something to do with anything or that increased press attention actually fixes anything — rather than offering sympathy or at the very least, shutting up — shame on you.

There’s something wrong with you. Something in you is broken.



Categories: News, Uncategorized

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49 replies

  1. The same discussion is going on in India too. People have started relating it to intolerance of Indians and the media reactions when similar attacks took place here and other countries termed it as intolerant behavior of certain community. I don’t know at this point when lakhs if people have lost their lives, horror and fear has gripped Paris, in this scenario how can someone talk such inhumane issues? Have they completely lost it? Honestly speaking I have stopped watching news. It is so very depressing.

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  2. There is always some war going on around the world. I think with all the different media we are getting immune to the atrocities – suicide bombers, car bombs etc. This time it was in a peaceful city, with citizens going about their business and then are slaughtered in the name of evil.
    I don’t think the reporting is helping at all. They think we want to see the human element – we had the same after the Christchurch earthquake but all it is, is voyeurism.

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    • I think you are right. And I think the main reason places in the middle east get less attention that Paris is because the bombings in the middle east never end. They are so common, so frequent, that no one gives them a lot of attention, whether it’s Beirut or Jerusalem or Egypt. Or, for that matter, somewhere in Africa or Bosnia. After a while, you get numb. Everyone does. It stops being news and become … another bombing. Just another one. Maybe it shouldn’t be that way, but it is.

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  3. I was going to write something, but words failed me. I am still thinking about it. Our news reporters were very careful with their choice of words. Very good write Marilyn.

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    • You probably have news that is really news, something we have very little of anymore. Since the 1960s when the networks decided news had to make money (as opposed to being a public service), it has been going downhill. There are still good reporters … but not so many and far too many bad ones. It was never an easy job, but it’s a lot harder now. In crises, you can see how bad a lot of our “kids” are. They don’t know how to tell the story, to gather facts, to work without a script. They aren’t really reporters, just pretty faces.

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  4. I actually have friends who refuse to watch the news at all. They live an isolated life trying to stick their head in the sand to insulate themselves from the world around them. They fill their heads with Beavis & Butthead, Family Guy and The Simpsons, as if these animated versions of the news are better that live footage. I, on the other hand, prefer to stay current with what’s going on around the world. When I had my senior group at McDonald’s in Portland we discussed current events and contributed our opinions on how to fix everything. Nothing changed when we did this but at least we knew we were alive and part of society, such that it is.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Heart breaking the whole thing. What is it that drives these people to do these thing?
    Leslie

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t understand the “kill lots of innocent people to make a political statement” ideology. But there’s a lot of horrible history … a lot of injustice … a lot of reasons why they hate us so much. It’s not just coincidence. Mass murder is never justified, but we also have a lot to answer for.

      Liked by 1 person

      • What they did can never be justified but unless we look into it further and try to figure out what motivates people to go to such extreme measures we will only play into their hands. It will continue, I fear.
        Leslie

        Liked by 1 person

        • History can teach us a lot. I do NOT believe the past justifies murder. I don’t think anyone sympathizes with mass murderers, no matter what their history or what injustices they have suffered. I’m just saying that there IS history.

          That being said, there are better ways — other than slaughtering people — to deal with it. How about a lively discussion in a forum like … the U.N.? The Hague? Because this isn’t going to solve anything. Mostly it will make everyone hate everyone else even MORE.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Our present methods do tend to escalate hostilities. Hopefully, there will be some some serious efforts to address the problems in a more reasoned approach.
            Leslie

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  6. My husband listened to the coverage last night on his computer and I, willing or not, got to hear it too. I found the emphasis on ‘blood bath’ and “covered in blood” was drowning out the humanity behind it.
    In situations like this I keep thinking, ‘what would Cronkite or Peter Jennings have done? What would the old school (and this includes Garry) have done with this kind of horror?

    To my mind reportage is just that. you tell it. You don’t give opinions, you are the camera, the paper, the news. Not the opinion-monger with the throaty TV voice, Ted Baxter, if you will. Opinions are not news.

    I was thinking, Marilyn, what you said about Vietnam, and trying to remember a time when some part of the world was not at war with another part. WWI was just the first chapter and we haven’t been out of wars since then. They don’t end, they just simmer in the pot on the back of the stove.

    For the first time in all of this, I begin to feel a prickle of dread.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Garry came into the news business during the final decade of the Ed Murrow era … with those now-legendary news guys. He couldn’t do it the way they are doing it now. I don’t know how anyone can work in the business the way it is now.

      The U.S. and our allies — we ALL supported a lot of bad guys over the years. We made a lot of enemies. I don’t believe anything justifies the mass murder of non-combatants, but we aren’t blameless either. We can’t fix history, can’t go back and change what happened. It’s a bit late to say “we’re sorry” and anyway, I’m not sure we ARE sorry.

      I don’t think we’ll live to see peace. I doubt anyone will see peace, ever. It does not seem human beings are built for peace. I can’t even name all the wars nor am I sure where in the world who is slaughtering who. Maybe, I don’t want to know.

      This is probably why I don’t talk about my view on the future very often. I’m not optimistic about the future of our planet or people. I think we’ve screwed the pooch, but no one wants to hear that.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Judy, this kind of tragedy, varying in scope and size, was part of my work venue for 40 years. I always did my best to present the facts — hopefully with as much corroboration as possible.On television, you should let the pictures tell the human impact stories without unnecessary narrative. My work carried me through wars, assassinations, riots, gangland shootings and myriad other acts of violence. For years, I internally carried the heartbreak of those who lost loved ones. I am not immune to Paris or the other acts of violence sure to visit us. I’m just glad I don’t have to be the messenger anymore. It’s a very heavy responsibility to bear.

      Liked by 1 person

      • garry, I remember when Ronald Reagan died, and Nancy had given directions about how the funeral should be handled on TV. I was traveling to Iowa City during it, and at each rest stop I would see the big TV in the lobby, turned to the procession, the whole thing, one stage at a time. Nancy had left strict orders about narration. There was to be none.
        And my one image of that entire funeral, was that of Nancy Reagan standing alone, looking small and aging and terribly sad, no one really near her. No narrative. No voice overs. It was exactly right.

        Sometimes TV forgets that it’s not just radio with pictures, and the dead air that radio abhors is the pictures and images it can show us. Newscasters squabbling over the feast of images, over what was said by whom, degrades the profession. Shut up , already, and let us watch.

        And yeah, the facts don’t need manufactured drama.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Couldn’t agree more. People need to stop wasting breath about what story gets top billing, and possibly just reflect that some terrible stuff has happened indeed, and be quietly thankful for their blessings.

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    • A lot of people seem to think it’s some kind of contest, that the tragedy with the best media coverage wins. If only it were that simple. A death is a death, but I think we feel the deaths of those to whom we feel close more sharply than we do when it is someone is a distant culture. There is no fairness in catastrophe. Better press coverage doesn’t bring back the dead. It’s all terrible and sad.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. The part of me that is European is crying out loud, the part of me that is American is crying in solidarity. I am outraged by many things lately. I grew up in the 70’s in Europe, some of the terror attacks back then are still stuck in my mind and will never be forgotten. I am almost tempted to write a post or two about it, but I am not sure how people would react.

    As for the news coverage, lets be brutally honest…good journalism died years ago and many of today reporter (not all) don’t really know their job. I watched a journalist today who made me flinch inside, when she asked questions and answered them as well.

    I am very lucky to be able to go and read the news in different language and only rely on my own translation.

    As for the human being, that can’t feel sympathy or empathy right now….well, I wouldn’t call them human beings.

    Sorry for the long comment.

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    • We’ve watched a little of the coverage. Not a lot. Garry, obviously, doesn’t watch it as a civilian. The quality of reporting has been terrible … and great. Sometimes on the same station in the same segment. There are still reporters out there trying to to the right things, a good job. To tell the truth to the extent that they know what that is and their news directors will allow it. There were a couple of women reporters who made me flinch … then I wondered if they had gotten any sleep or even a meal in the past 24 hours. Probably not and some of them are obviously loopy from exhaustion.

      That’s one of the things that civilians don’t know … how in this kind of situation, reporters are often worked until they are literally falling down. That doesn’t excuse a lack of professionalism. The real professionals are still at least capable even when they are three days without sleep. Experience counts and some of these people are just kids and know nothing.

      It’s complicated. It’s also very sad.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I worked as a translator and interpreter for years back then, when the internet wasn’t even invented or just in the start up. Many times for newspapers and TV stations. Not sleeping for a day or not eating is quite normal in the line of duty and no excuse for a bad performance.

        Reporters are not special, there are normal human beings doing their job and if they can’t do their job..then they should look for a different one.

        I listened to a female reporter today on CNN, she asked a guy in Paris if he felt sad and I just shook my head. It’s like asking a starving man if he would like to have some food.

        But you are right, some of the old, real professionals are still exquisite, they are not full of themselves and haven’t forgotten that they are human being as well.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I think I saw that same reporter. She was awful. But there was a guy who was part of the same team and he was excellent. She was trying to be “up close and personal” and all she sounded was ignorant and stupid. But there is a very good chance her news director TOLD HER to ask those questions. They used to do that to Garry, too. If you don’t, you can lose your job. A lot of news directors are remarkably insensitive and have never worked in the field.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Ladybug, some of my former colleagues and peers publicly flog the current mainstream news media. I agree with their criticism but realize the fault lies in management and ownership of the news outlets. I was very, very lucky to be mentored by veterans from the “golden age” of broadcast news as my career began. I was also fortunate to work for a long time when news was not bridled by entertainment divisions and consultants who insisted we dumb down the news.
          As for those inane reporter questions, I cringe and feel very embarrassed.

          Liked by 2 people

  9. The “Press” seems to, by choice, prefer the really bad things that happen. News Reels used to balance their presentation of crisis stories with human interest bits as well. What happened to “balanced news”?

    Liked by 1 person

    • In this kind of crisis, there is never balance. How do you balance 129 dead in a slaughter? I don’t think there are any “feel good” moments. The reporters trying to find those “human interest” items just look stupid.

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      • In mentioning “Balanced News Coverage” I point out a trend. The horrible events of the last few days are never to be taken lightly, and can only be likened to our own of 9/11 as well as the many other smaller outrages happening daily. Any and all of these acts cause human suffering whether committed by a hidden group or a government.

        On the other hand what terrorist groups want is publicity and, as the term suggests, to inspire “terror.” To this end we serve by over reporting, emphasizing and creating a sense of helplessness in the world. These groups, like ISIS, are correctly referred to as “cowards” , performing cowardly acts. They also realize that “fear” is a powerful tool when encouraged from an unseen source. We must not feed that fear.

        Liked by 1 person

        • omni, I thought of that too. We feed their ’cause’ by reporting on it, and as used to be the case in children committing suicide in a local school, the news would play it down to almost zero, to avoid the copycat syndrome. If someone terrorized a town with guns or a rampage, it was given minimal coverage, at least until it was past the danger point.

          I never thought the date 9/11 was a coincidence, and never thought of it as an act of war, but rather the shot across the bow that every president seems to have to deal with. And having this Paris thing come on Friday the 13th is the same way. It enforces many people’s fear of the #13…it also being the day after our own Veteran’s Day…

          Terrible things have always happened around the world, and its only within the last 40 years or so that we have been able to watch them almost instantly, one frame at a time. Paris is no different. Cell phones, smart phones, and the amazing insistence on ‘all that blood’ just fuels the terroritsts need for publicity and personal ego.

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          • Kind of my point. Giving more and more attention to every incident isn’t going to fix the problem and will, as likely as not, make it worse. Sure, it gets a lot of people wringing their hands about it, but does it discourage terrorists from doing it again somewhere else? Really? Why would anyone think that? Terrorists feed on publicity. That’s the point.

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            • I’m just saying’….

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              • I know what you mean, and I’ve heard this from others, but in this I stand with Garry. Feeding the press full of terrorism and terrorists is not a cure. It’s a cause. It’s giving them what they want. And in parts of the world where acts of terror are virtually daily events, they just aren’t going to get a lot of attention, if for no better reason that people get numb. You don’t hear about all the bombs blowing up in Israel, either. It isn’t racism or bad journalism. It just is what it is.

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    • Balanced news? I knew it well.

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  10. Marilyn said, “Horrible. All the deaths, all the murders. What terrible things we do to one another. Unspeakable.”
    I agree. The really sickening part, I don’t think we seen nuthin yet! We haven’t advanced much since crawling out of the cave.

    There are conflicting peoples, conflicting terror organization, conflicting governments, conflicting press coverage worldwide, it is like a multi-headed monster that continues to feed on itself. It cannot destroy itself but continues to grow on its own obscenity.

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  11. Thank you, Marilyn. Well said as always. This is certainly not a competition for attention. Let’s work toward a more equal and inclusive world. Peace to you.

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  12. Why do people “pick” on things that don’t matter? This is sad. A tragedy which deserves our prayers and outpouring of compasdion, Marilyn. Peace, wish it were possible in our lifetime. ♡

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    • I remember objecting to the war in Vietnam and being so happy when it “ended,” only to discover it wasn’t over, would never be over, and then there were the other wars. The world has been at war for my entire life. There has never been peace. I don’t think I’ll live to see it.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I could not agree more. Of course other tragedies in the world are awful as well. For me personally, I know people who in live in Paris. I have not yet heard from them all. I will talk about Paris more because it affects me. It does not diminish the other tragedies in the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s the point, I guess. It’s not a contest. That there are massacres and slaughters going on in Africa, Asia, everywhere doesn’t make one worse and another better. Do we pay more press attention to countries to whom we feel particularly close — for cultural or historic reasons? Yes. It’s like paying more attention to the death of family than to that of strangers. It doesn’t make the death of a stranger less important, just less personal.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Prayers for the people of Paris, France. We New Yorkers remember 9/11. Terror tried to tear America apart but it only made us stronger. New York Stands with Paris!

    French Sisters and Brothers, Be Strong!! We shall win over the enemy!! France Lives and She Stands!

    Liked by 2 people

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