Let me preface this by stating the obvious — I am not attempting to make light of the Boston bombings in any way, shape or form. Even attempting to do so would be an egregious misstep in character, and considering the deaths, the injuries and the damage that the city of Boston experienced, it would be disgraceful for me — or anybody else — to do such a thing.
As the police zeroed in on the final suspect on Friday night, I found myself having an ongoing sense of anxiety as I watched the media coverage. I couldn’t help but fear that the dude was building up for one more grand finale before being killed or arrested, and I knew that Boston couldn’t take anymore carnage.
So I can’t even express the relief I experienced when the the Boston Police Department tweeted that they had the suspect in custody, and it was all over.
Of course, it will never truly be over. People died. People lost their legs. I watched the 20-minute speech Obama gave in a Boston church, and I got chills at the 10:35 mark when Obama tells the injured victims “You will run again,” and I absolutely teared up at the 9:35 mark when they show little 8-year-old Martin Richard holding a bright blue sign that reads, “No more hurting people. Peace.”
But when a tragedy like this occurs, where every eye in the world becomes glued to both their TV sets and their Twitter feeds to get the most up-to-the-second information, you’re going to have a lot of gaffes along the way.
I touched on this on Thursday, about how every outlet wants to be first. They want to reveal exclusive information. And in that rush to the top, you encounter an internal, philosophical dilemma — do you go ahead and ensure the validity of your information, or do you spit it out in the hope of attracting viewers? Because right or wrong, it will indeed attract viewers.
The New York Times picked on CNN for their coverage — but I’m sure that no network is faultless.
But anyway, not everything was necessarily a media highlight out of error — but because of stupidity or hilarity.
The point is, though, that unprecedented events like this teaches us as humans to view news through a critical lens. And on the flip side, I think the networks all learned something too — fact check, be patient, and always make sure the person you are interviewing doesn’t have a giant pink dildo within view of the camera.
Let’s get into it.
5) The New York Post being wrong about… everything.
I remember last week, just hours after the bombing, visiting different news websites to compare how they all were covering it. I clicked to the New York Post website (don’t ask me why) and saw that they had a few prominent lines of bullet points written over a picture of the bombings, and I couldn’t help but notice that everything they posted was incorrect.
They reported that 12 people were dead. Wrong.
They reported that a third bomb had gone off. Wrong.
And they reported that a suspect was in custody. Again, wrong.
Nobody is perfect. The news is going to get things wrong. Shit, I work in news, and I get things wrong all of the time. But reporters should hold themselves to high standards. Being right four out of five times should not be good enough. So being right zero out of five times… doesn’t even qualify you as a “news.” It’s just glorified rumors.
And how can we forget this?
Never change, New York Post. Never change.
4) The amazing uncle.
Similar to my reaction to the Sandy Hook shootings, I don’t even want to name or acknowledge the existence of the suspects. By doing so, you’re accepting them as human beings, which is something they don’t deserve.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t acknowledge their awesome uncle.
People always like to say they have a “cool uncle.” Well, think of every trait that makes an uncle cool, and then multiply it by 10. You get this guy. If you watch this clip, this guy is not only humorous, but he’s level-headed, he’s clearly intelligent, he’s straight up blue-collar and he is eloquent.
Seriously. I’m not kidding when I say that this man should be put in front of a camera and hired to give his spin on current events. I’d believe him more than any one else out there. At the very least, Jon Stewart needs to make him a Daily Show correspondent.
Oh and I will say this about the suspects — the republic of Chechnya has officially entered national consciousness. Its existed for more than three decades, but I don’t think 19 out of 20 people could have pointed it out on a map before this weekend. And they probably still can’t. But at least they know it exists.
3) The dildo.
This was an actual still frame from an interview conducted by the BBC.
Jesus, I don’t even know where to start.
First of all, his name is Marcus Mumford. As in the same exact name of the lead singer of the band Mumford & Sons. Come on. That is not a common name at all. That’s like if somebody else in the world had the name Al Yankovic, and then just happened to be interviewed on live TV. I’m convinced that this guy was just trolling BBC by giving a fake name.
And yeah, the dildo. The pink dildo. I’m not one to judge what a guy does in his spare time — actually, screw that. I will. I certainly will. Marcus, why in the hell is a pink dildo sitting so prominently within the main foyer of your living quarters?
I don’t care if you share that apartment with three females. If it was me, I wouldn’t ever want to know if anyone that I live with owns a dildo. I could one day share an apartment with a Russian supermodel, and she can go to town every night with a dildo — but I don’t need to know about that. I don’t need to see the dildo. The place where I eat and sleep should always be a dildo-free territory. And yet, not only is the home of Marcus Mumford not dildo-free, but it’s sticking out like it’s a freaking centerpiece he wants to showcase for his guests.
2) Wait, she… she said… what?!
I actually physically hurt my head doing a vicious face palm after watching this. I almost gave myself a concussion.
Her name is Susan Candiotti, and given her age, I’m assuming she’s probably a senior reporter at CNN who has performed many famous interviews. But I don’t care. If CNN doesn’t fire her for insensitivity, they should fire her for incompetence — why in the world would you want somebody so mind-numbingly moronic representing your network?
I love how she actually took a moment to conjure up the perfect metaphor to describe the situation in Boston. She could have said anything else. Anything. She could have accidentally said something extremely racist, and it still would have been better than what she said.
Every time I rewatch this, I have to actually hold my hand with my other hand to prevent myself from doing another blunt force trauma-inducing face palm.
1) Our Commander-in-Chief, also our Consoler-in-Chief.
This one isn’t meant to be about humor. In fact, this one really was a highlight in every sense of the word.
Two hours after the last suspect was apprehended by police, Obama stood in front of the podium yet again, this time to try to put some closure to the weeklong ordeal. And he did. As I watched our president speak, I felt some sense of poignancy in his voice that told me I would remember this moment for a really long time.
If you recall the initial press conference just hours after the bombings, when Obama addressed the media for the first time — he divulged very little information. At the close of his remarks, and upon his departure, you could hear the media bombarding questions at him that they wanted answers to.
Well, this time, when he finished speaking, there were no questions. There wasn’t a peep. Because nothing more needed to be said.
And I can’t think of a better way of ending today’s post than by showing the footage.