Participating In A Gross Spectacle

Over at the Corner, K-Lo writes,

“In the face of terrible news story involving death and destruction, I typically have a moment when I wonder, “maybe it would be best if commentators took a day or two off.” Frequently early commentary winds up being uninformed or too emotional to be of any use to anyone.

As a friend of mine loves to say, there is no award for getting it wrong first. And little benefit, either.

…Cable news exists for these things, I realize, and I hesitate to blame an individual reporter or pundit because they are doing their jobs, but it’s probably way past time everyone covering this take a deep breath. Lunchtime in prayer for these families whose lives were devastated yesterday might not hurt us all.”

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I get that and feel the same way.

The thing is, in a era where there’s a deep partisan divide, a 24 hour news cycle, a practically unlimited number of information sources, and a microwave culture that expects information and analysis on the big story of the day right now, you get sucked in to commenting on issues that would probably be better left outside of politics for a few days.

Unfortunately, you can’t afford NOT to do it. Not only does your audience expect it, other people are going to comment whether you do or not, and if you don’t do it, incorrect memes can develop and be almost impossible to correct later. That’s exactly what happened in the aftermath of Katrina where the left and mainstream media managed to take the poor response to a massive natural disaster by the locals and managed to spin it into major screw-up by the Bush Administration.

That’s why, unfortunately, you have to get out there early and discuss issues like this even if you’d rather just send your condolences to the friends and families of the victims and leave it at that for a while.

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