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Tuesday, May 03, 2005

I Say They Should Pay

As the cable news networks try to wring yet another day out of a non-story -- the Jennifer Wilbanks "runaway bride" episode -- the discussion has shifted to the topic as to whether someone should be forced to pay money to the police for causing them to devote massive resources to a case that could've been used elsewhere. The notion being that the person or persons who cause the police to do all this work should be forced to pay. I agree. They should.

So cough it up, CNN. You too, MSNBC. And that goes double for you, Fox News. If the cameras weren't pointed at every cop, every family member and every local acquaintance looking for their 15 minutes of fame, would the police have devoted nearly so many resources to the story? I think not. There always seemed like a bit of a nod of the head of the police in this case that it was a non-starter, and without serious evidence of foul play they probably would've treated it the same way they do the tens of thousands of other people who go missing in this country every year.

But the media decided that instead of covering real news that is generated all the time all over the world, they would manufacture some of their own, a virtually content-free soap operatic pot boiler for the sake of ratings. If that's their idea of responsible journalism, that's fine. But don't go pointing the finger at a worried family and an unbalanced girl and saying they are responsible for all the money wasted by police. They did what people do all the time. They called the police. They lied. People do it every day. If you want to get the people responsible for the media circus, well, that would be the media themselves.

So pay up, all of you, right now, or wipe this story off the airwaves and tell me about something I care about, like the Yemeni woman who is about to be executed. Because when it comes to covering actual news, you suck.