Thursday, May 13, 2010

When Package Copy Goes Horribly Wrong

Update 5/15/10: Hey guys. If you're wondering, yes, I plan on doing a post about 360 Friday. Look for it tomorrow or early Monday.

Hi everybody. When I sat down to watch tonight's broadcast I had no intention of doing a post. My plan was to have a little fun live-chatting with some friends and then go to bed. But sometimes you see something on the TeeVee that just screams "blog me!" and such was the case tonight.

The show kicked off with the latest on the oil spill, while my friends and I discussed how cable has absolutely destroyed the concept of "breaking news" (and how we're a little bitter about that). Soon 360 transitioned to the subject of the craziness going on in Arizona. A worthy topic, though not something that personally interests me a great deal.

My chat buddies and I instead talked about the extremely disturbing viral video of a drug raid that recently took place in Columbia, Missouri, in which family dogs were shot in the presence of a seven-year-old. This is your drug war in action. More info can be found here.

From there, 360 had discussion with Alex Castellanos and Paul Begala. What did they discuss? I honestly couldn't tell you, nor do I care. As I said on Twitter, at this point I don't even hear the pundits anymore. It's just all Charlie Brown's teacher to me. I wish CNN would listen to Donna Brazile and her suggestion of getting rid of the pundits. Unfortunately, not only are they not listening; they're hiring more. Le sigh.

But enough about all that. It's time to talk about what caused me to blog tonight: the story of Larry King, a gay 15-year-old who was relentlessly bullied and then allegedly shot to death by another student. A truly horrible situation. The show has actually reported extensively on the case previously. The piece that ran tonight from Randi Kaye was more of a summary and update. And in terms of copy, it was bad. Very bad. Seriously, check this out:
More than two years ago in February 2008, the bullying suddenly stopped, not because Larry was finally accepted but because he was dead. Murdered, police say, by a fellow student.
And this:
On Larry's final day, he left his make-up and high heels at home and went to school wearing his uniform, just like everyone else. It's unclear why. But if he had decided to try and blend in, he never had a chance.
Before the piece had even ended, my friends had made a flurry of comments, all with basically the same sentiment: WTF? I get that our news peeps have a job to do, but the paragraphs I've highlighted could have been relayed in a much more appropriate manner. Yes, this is a news story--it's also the life of a 15-year-old boy. This reminds me of when they used the Magic Wall to extensively document the days before Phoebe Prince killed herself. There's some stuff you just shouldn't do.

For anyone out there thinking of hating on Randi Kaye, the fact of the matter is we just don't know who the responsible party is here. Her copy could very well have been written by a producer. You would've hoped that someone would have said, "hey, that reads rather insensitive," but I guess not. To add insult to injury, this was all followed up with discussion with Dr. Phil. How he merits the "Big 360 Interview" is beyond me. Also, raise your hand if you were absolutely creeped out by him talking about those little girls performing the Single Ladies dance.

So...yeah. Not much praising from me tonight. You win some, you lose some. Tomorrow they're scheduled to run the first special show in the new format. Should be interesting. Maybe? I'm pretty skeptical that this is going to work out for them, but never say never.

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