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September 28, 2012

FoxNews Covers Another Car Chase; Perp Offs Himself At Video's End

I'm not sure I have any opinion on this. There will be the typical scolding of Fox for covering sensationalistic events; but, what the funk, they broadcast for like 15 hours a day, they have to fill the hours.

I don't find this interesting. They're all the same, aren't they? But other people, I guess, watch these things. Or else they wouldn't be on the air.

End of the day, the drama of desperation is compelling. For good or for ill. 30% of all shows on primetime are now "reality" shows trying to ramp up contrived circumstances to produce some watchable "real-life" drama of desperation.

The guy offs himself at the end. I'm embedding the video below You don't have to play it if you're squeamish. But it's a fairly long distance helicopter shot so while you can see, with no ambiguity, that he shoots himself in the head and dies, you can't see much more than that.

Shep Smith starts yelling "Get off, get off, get off" at the end -- actually, well after the end, but perhaps his feed was a little less delayed -- to tell the network to stop airing the suicide. He sounds a little self-righteous about it, like he's the Thin Blue Line protecting the public from its own appetites for sensationalistic fare.

But as Jim Geraghty asks, aren't crashes and deaths what people are watching these things for? They're sure not watching them for the typical denoument-- guy on the ground, cuffed behind his back.

Given Shep Smith's self conception as a righteous liberal bien pensant, I imagine he'll have a big fight with the Higher Ups about the propriety of running these car chases on TV. I imagine he'll have a long faux-thoughtful but mostly self-justifying and self-congratulating televised essay on it tonight or tomorrow.

I... also don't care about that. He'll try to distance himself from the sensationalist, lurid footage, shifting blame to the audience and, more subtly, to the "requirements" of cable news (which is his way of insulting his bosses in a passive-aggressive way he won't be called on).

I really don't know what to say about this except it happened. There are no larger truths here, at least none that aren't perfectly obvious: Desperate people do desperate things, and people like watching this, and people also like engaging in self-congratulatory elevations of themselves as being "above such things," unlike the brutish mass of common humanity.

Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann and the rest of the left-wing all-stars will preen from their perches, which, in Matthews' case, is a little-watched legacy show on NBC, and in Olbermann's case, is Twitter.

We will shout and accuse and Look Within Ourselves and pretend all sorts of Lessons Have Been Learned all the rest of the predictable stupidity.

Guy shot himself. People like seeing sudden violence. It's all very shocking if you have the innocence of a five year old, or like pretending you do.



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posted by Ace at 03:55 PM

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