Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Sensational Blame Game...


The name of the game of modern sensational journalism is blame. And self-righteous reporters have made sport of throwing it around like bowling balls. Local Portland media today is currently energized over two stories... one old and one new. The latest tragedy of their sport is the death of a nine-year old Washington girl named,
Madison Gecho. Madison was accidentally killed Tuesday, when the inner-tube she was riding slammed into a brick bench in Felida, Washington just north of Portland. Her father, in an act of forgiveable stupidity fostered by the family's excitement about the fresh blanket of snow, was towing his daughter and a friend behind on a tube tether to his pickup along a snow-covered road. Madison suffered fatal injuries and was rushed by her father to a local hospital for treatment. She died shortly after.

That is how the story should have been written. But, of course there was more to report according to the rules of modern journalism's blame game. And
Bob Heye of KATU news, like many others looked to strike. They reported, that alcohol may have been involved and charges were to be filed against Madison's father for her 'murder.' Local news sources have been reporting that story in the same manner for nearly two days, savaging Peter Gecho; a man no-doubt greiving insufferably at his own stupidity.
Although alcohol is suspected to have played a role in the death of a 9-year-old girl who was killed in an inner tube accident, authorities will not be pursuing drunk driving charges...

...Police believe alcohol may have played a role in the accident, but because of where Madison was taken, to Oregon, a blood sample that could have shed light on whether Gecho had been drinking was not taken.

But, of course, when no evidence of their claim surfaced, the sensational game continued just the same, as did the torment. They blamed Mr. Gecho for his judgement, they continued to report the accusation, they blamed him for not calling 911 and for rushing his daughter to the wrong hospital. And they continue to call it 'murder,'
However, all may not be lost if prosecutors hope to build a case against Gecho. Authorities have learned there were as many as four people riding in his pickup at the time of the accident and their testimony may be used to pursue charges.
What's the matter Mr. Heye, you don't think this man has been punished enough? Madison's father is only guilty of one thing; an unforgiveable degree of bad judgement. And he is the one who will never forgive it as long as he lives and recalls the face of his beautiful little girl. As for you, you self-righteous pharisee... where's your sty, sir? For your sake, I hope it never matches his splinter, although you would certainly deserve it.

And although that would be enough for one week, there's still more... and from the very same source. Again, KATU does not bear sole blame for the sensational pathology that dominates modern journalism. But, they do love that game. Today, the Investigative Review was released regarding the tragedy of the Kim family. If you recall, The Kims were a San Fransicso familyreturning home from Seattle through Oregon. They got lost on a backroad in the Coastal Range during a snowstorm. Although the family was finally found stranded a week later, father, James Kim, had perished. That's the story.

But, its just not sensational enough for modern journalism, according to
Associated Press reporter, Jeff Barnard, and the other vultures of local media who regurgitated it throughout the day - how local rescuers did not do enough quickly enough.. There was confusion and delay that likely led to Jame's death. And oh by the way it was his wife's idea to keep driving into treacherous conditions. Barnard's story reports on the findings,
Investigators have no way of knowing whether San Francisco online editor James Kim could have been saved after his family took the wrong fork of a backcountry road in Southern Oregon, triggering a massive search, a sheriff's association review concluded Thursday.

The review concluded the search was marked by "frequent confusion" over who was in charge, and searchers could have gotten on the ground near the Kims earlier on the day after James Kim set out on foot for help - if they had worked through the night with new information from cell phone records. (emphasis mine)

His definitive delivery of blame in the second paragraph, is negated by the official's statement in the third,

But there is no firm evidence they could have reached the Kims in time to save James Kim's life, said Klamath County Sheriff Tim Evinger, who headed the review by the Oregon State Sheriffs' Association.

Not that it mattered. Local news played their blame game with the inference all day long, casting suggestive aspersions on the dozens of men and woman that mobilized and volunteered for a week to find a tiny needle in an immense and snow-covered haystack. They were the one's who ultimately saved Kati Kim and her daughters.

What did you do that week, Jeff?

The story goes on to blame others,

Before reaching Bear Camp Road, they stopped at a gas station in Merlin for directions, Evinger said. James Kim returned to the car frustrated because the attendant did not seem to understand him but got no indication the road could be dangerous in winter, Evinger added.

After stories in The Oregonian newspaper suggested officials in Josephine County did not make effective use of tips about what road the Kims might have taken, the Josephine County Sheriff's Patrol Search and Rescue, a nonprofit group of volunteers, asked for the review.

It found confusion about who was leading operations - the state police, the Josephine County Sheriff's Department, or someone on the ground. One time the command center was closed before search teams left the field, and they were not debriefed. Only once did search commanders prepare plans for the next day.

And of course, they blame the Kim's themselves,

Kati Kim told investigators the family took the left fork, staying on Bear Camp Road, but returned to the fork by backing down a hill after seeing snow ahead. They narrowness of the road, with steep dropoffs, made them afraid to turn around to return to the freeway, Evinger said.
"The road to the right is paved as well, and actually wider than the correct road," Evinger told The Associated Press. "So they chose to get to a lower elevation to get out of the snow. So they went to the right."

They followed that logging road 21 miles and stopped at 2 a.m. to save gas for warmth, Evinger said. They became stranded when more snow fell the next night, he said.

Local media ran with that one, somehow translating it to suggest it was Kati who got them stranded, thus striking her with even more guilt and sorrow than she no doubt feels already for her and her husband's tragic lapse in judgement.

Indeed it was another week of sensational journalism in the Pacific Northwest. And I don't mean fabulous. Far from it. A free people depend on information to make sound autonomous judgements about daily existence. Reporting the 'News' was one means to gain needed information. An objective transmission of daily events, joyful or tragic, is the healthiest method to create an intelligent society of competent individuals capable of sound independent judgement. But, modern journalism spreads conjecture, opinion, and inuendo like a disease, infecting everyone who listens. To them it is a game. To civilization, their game is a mortal pestilence...

...and journalists are its vermin.


dueler88 said...

Will journalists ever acknowledge the role they played in our loss in Vietnam?

Will journalists ever acknowledge the role they are playing in our loss of will in Iraq and the GWOT?

Mr.Atos said...

Vermin don't acknowledge, they just follow filth, eat and crap where they please.