Friday, October 16, 2009

Save Balloon Boy!

Someday, Someday... The cartoon from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch kinda says it all. Someday , I just know (if I live long enough), I'll be able to say I was impressed by the journalistic judgment shown by cable news. Someday. Yesterday, on the other hand, fell just a little short. My favorite part of the "balloon boy" story was watching the once-credible CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer. It was quite the situation in "The Situation Room." This is the same guy who used to report with some authority on the Middle East peace process and interview presidential candidates. But, hey, what's that compared to a live balloon chase over the eastern front of Rockies. There is news, after all, and then there is news. Linda Holmes, a writer on popular culture, has some thoughts. As she points out - listening Wolf - "It's not always easy to know what you're looking at, even when you're staring at it with your own eyes." After Wolf, and a close second as a favorite part of the "balloon boy" story, comes the merchandise. At you can own the tee-shirt commerating the "most disappointing conclusion to helium-filled balloon journalism ever." Retail $20, unless you buy at least 25 shirts and qualify for the 10% discount. The only quick lesson to draw from "balloon boy" is that the 24-hour news cycle needs lotsa material. After all, Michael Jackson can only die once - presumably.