The TV Emperor wears no clothes

Thursday, September 30, 2010

We were amazed but not totally shocked when learning of the recent Sioux City female television reporter driving around the barricades at a flooded roadway near Akron and then becoming stranded on the roof of her vehicle in a life or death situation as the floodwaters overtook her vehicle.

Many emergency responders' lives were then put at high risk as several agencies and law officers rushed to save the woman. Thankfully, after some risky, life-threatening maneuvers, they did save the reporter.

However, in a reality TV show entitled, "What the #$@*^+ were you thinking?" this reporter should be the poster child. That is, when she gets out of jail.

Not only did she give all media a bad name with the authorities and add to the lore that most TV "personalities" are simply pretty faces and empty suits without substance, journalistic skills, or competitive IQs, she put herself and all her rescuers into a life or death situation.

She was fined $120 for her motor vehicle transgression, which probably will be paid for by her network. We say she should be fired, or demoted to a daytime studio camera gig, or write silly advertising jingles for fast-food joints. Get her off the streets. That is, after a couple hundred hours of community service working with emergency responders and the local morgue assigned to drowning deaths.

Several years ago, we recall a bright, engaging, eager young female reporter determined to "be somebody" in the media. After a couple years as a reporter in the newspaper business, she elected to take a job with a local TV station AND a $12,000 annual pay cut. When asked, she cooed about the noteriety associated with "face time" on TV being well-worth the cut in salary.

As long-standing members of the Print Media - where detail and full disclosure are the norm versus 15-second sound bites that titillate and rarely educate - we maintain that TV news merely reveals the top of the ocean (water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink) and not all the denizens and their multiple issues below.

Yes, the TV reporter grossly erred as she illegally drove around the barricades to get closer to the action, considering her camera probably has a telephoto lens that can pick up insects on the moon.

Now, we are faced with the big question - was it simply an innocent mistake from an entry-level reporter who took the "little money" job for that coveted face time? Or, was it all contrived in a feeble effort to "be somebody" in the media?

And, panic-stricken on the roof of that submerged vehicle, was she batting her eyes for the cameras, or fighting back tears as those courageous emergency responders saved her life?

Tune in tonight at 10 where we may or may not tell you.