The News Thursday Night: Our Hearts and Our Lenses are with the Kids Nightly Network News Review


We all support the survivors of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown. Our hearts especially go out to the kids … which is a phrase that has sadly become a cliche in an America that is regularly visited by mass shootings.

CBS Evening News wants you to know it. So does NBC Nightly News. ABC World News Tonight wants you to know that there’s a flu outbreak first, but they’ll get to telling you that today, we’re all with the Newtown students.

Ironically, the flu coverage is less sickening. (ABC’s Dr. Richard Besser gives this ringing endorsement of the current flu vaccine which he still does want you to take: “It’s better than nothing.”)

Every network offers tight shots of the students staring from their buses, with families members in intimate moments, and being wracked with grief, now for all to see.

Can you think of a better way to support the kids than to get a telescopic lens to intrude into the most emotionally trying time of their lives?

This voyeurism is not news and should end. Instead, it will continue only more aggressively. The Media will unwittingly promote ‘shooting tourism,’ an industry of plush toys, and the spontaneous appearance of good-hearted-yet-somehow-sadistic cardboard angels marking the Sandy Hook Elementary School bus path on the way back and forth to class every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Ten times a week; the angels stand as unnecessary reminders of your classmates who were brutally murdered in the building where you’re about to sit for the next seven hours.

ABC correspondent Martha Raddatz then celebrates the reported killing of a Taliban leader by a US drone strike. She calls the assassination a “major victory.” It’s weird when the US drone campaign makes the US nightly news and when it doesn’t. The drone campaign makes the news when the Pentagon puts out a press release claiming success. The drone campaign doesn’t make the news when authoritative reports show the high number of civilians killed, especially kids. The drone campaign certainly isn’t discussed in The Media when it comes to its legality, as both US major political parties agree it’s legal. Therefore, it’s not a debate. If it’s not a debate between the two parties, it’s not in the news.

The drone campaign is to America’s foreign policy what climate change is to US environmental policy: ignored and never discussed by The Media.

There was this crazy moment during the news tonight where all three networks were doing stories that amounted to nothing more than Beltway gossip. It was one of those rare moments when The Media forgets itself and revels in its symbiotic relationship with DC. ABC starts it with this weird roundup of incoming Congresswomen. ABC anchor Diane Sawyer is all giddy as if the mere fact that they are women means anything other than more women in elected office — which is obviously a good thing. But that’s all it is. It’s not the possible end of gridlock because more women are in Congress, like Sawyer claims. Diane even demeans the Congresswomen by asking them to ‘raise their hands’ in response to certain questions.

With Diane, you always end up feeling like you’re back in kindergarten.

But it’s not just ABC. CBS goes the DC gossip route with the health of Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill), who is recovering from a stroke, and NBC gets Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is recovering from a bonk on the noggin and a blood clot.

Next, NBC rolls out Darth Vader himself, Tom Brokaw, to gossip about, profile and praise newly elected US Senator Angus King (I-Maine). Brokaw tells us King will change the entire culture of DC and the way government works.

I feel like a fly occupying the one percent wall.

Of course, the women and King will not change DC. The one percent wants you to think change can really mean change. It can’t. Then, the one percent will tell you the reason there’s never any change is that the government doesn’t work. So, the one percent will fund and get you to vote for the next change.

Fittingly, CBS then goes to the gun store to find that gun registrations have gone through the roof since Newtown. Buyers are fearing more government restrictions on ownership. They always fear more government restrictions on gun ownership — whether they’re coming or not.

It’s like there’s something in the graphite and lead.

CBS reporter Ben Tracy is on the gun story and says that while gun sales are up, gun injuries and deaths are down — but he doesn’t tell us that in the US, 80 people are killed by guns every day. Down or not, these numbers are still way too high.

An LA cop says the reason the city’s gun deaths have dropped are an aggressive anti-gang campaign and gun buyback program. However, Tracy adds that the LAPD bought back 2,000 guns last week and local gun stores sell 2,000 every day.

NBC wants you to know that the number one reason for spouses fighting in the US is the TV remote. So, anchor Lester Holt thanks viewers for choosing NBC tonight. Cute. Turning a story about domestic strife into a joke about your ratings. Nice touch, Lester.

CBS ends with the story of a GI who was injured in Iraq. As he was flown out of the country for emergency surgery, his brain was hanging out of his head. He’s unable to do interviews, has seizures and infections … but he’s alive! Then, CBS shows a clip of him without the helmet he wears for protection. It’s an intense story of an incredible surgery and heroic survival that ends up with more of that voyeuristic feeling. The shot of his injury revealed was gratuitous, rude, unnecessary, invasive, intrusive and, well, fascinating.

NBC ends by going in-depth to online senior dating services. No, not that kind. The kind where seniors are looking for seniors. NBC is clearly pandering to their Cialis-popping testosterone-pumping demographic.

ABC closes with this video that was shown on all the networks tonight. The video shows a couple of kids stuck on a tree that’s sticking out of thin and cracking ice. It must have been going around all the offices of the one percent today.

Tonight, I feel so included.

But my heart is with the kids.