Stop Toying With My Emotions

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From Greg Byron's essay, "TV News: What Local Stations Don't Want You to Know":

"Tearful parts of an interview are always the chosen sound-bites.  Reporters want to capture emotions so badly, they completely forget any notion of allowing privacy or personal dignity to grieving victims or their families" (Byron).

     I have to say that reading this article was an eye-opening experience for me.  I'm generally a pretty trusting person but when I read this particular statement I felt a little betrayed.  When bad things happen the last thing you need is someone egging you on, reminding you of the worst day of your life through constant questioning.  It is especially upsetting that a lot of this questioning is presumably aimed at drawing forth an emotional response from you.  In this case, one man's grief is the reporter's glory.   If they can somehow tap into that emotion it makes them look good, and, in turn, makes them happy.  The fact that someone can be made happy by your suffering is really an unsettling one.  The person who had the major issue needs some time to recover, think things over and assess the damages.  They really do not need to be having microphones shoved in their faces asking them the obvious question "How are you feeling?"  I think if someone asked me that question when I had a truly bad day and they knew it I would have to resort to violence.  Ok...maybe not.  I'm all talk but I would at least have to give them the death-stare before giving my sarcastic response of "Absolutely fabulous.  How nice of you to ask."

Bye bye

5 Comments

Josie Rush said:

heh. Yeah, the "how are you feeling?" question generally earns an eye roll from me, on my best days. I can understand some of the tactics the news uses to increase ratings, but I think probing for an emotional response shows a fantastic disregard for humanity.

Aja Hannah said:

Not just TV news does this though. Magazine and newspaper reporters do the same thing and these people have more time to really get in on what happened and get the better quotes and longer articles. Look at what the paprazzi do and the privacy they invade to bring the celebrities down to the public's level.

It sucks, but I see a lot of journalism as digging and exploitation. I even see it with the Setonian and Eye Contact here. We write for our readers. There are great articles and poems to be published that would be a little too racy, show the school in a less positive light, or would upset the nuns/faculty/staff so these things are swept under the rug.

Derek Tickle said:

It seems that news reporters want to get right into someone's life as soon as something bad happens. Take a wreck, for example, and the first thing the news does is goes knocking on people's doors. What if someone was related to that person in the wreck? Emotions begin to stir up. It is amazing how emotion can make a news-report look really good. If a viewer is about to cry after watching a news segment, then they are more likely to remember that specific report. They will, then, most likely tell their family and friends about it and where they saw it. This in turn will most likely attract more viewers to that news station and they will ultimately win. It seems to be a money game that wants to attract as many viewers as possible. Good response!

Jennifer Prex said:

I guess the reporters tend to forget basic human decency in favor of the entertainment factor. I know to some degree that they are only doing their jobs and that it really comes back to their bosses, but that doesn't make it right. As Byron suggests, the news should focus more on the facts than entertainment.

Angela Palumbo said:

Thank you for all of your comments everyone! This reminds me of just one more little thing, the conversation between Jay Leno and Kanye West after the whole MTV VMAs catastrophe. Leno asked West, "What would your mother think" and when West was too choked up to reply he threw in a loaded question: "Would she be disappointed?" The answer was obviously yes but he was either trying to make West look like a you-know-what or he was trying to pry for the emotional response that would make his show look good. Even though West was a complete jerk, I still felt a little bad for him here.

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