Friday, February 4, 2011
When did it become the role of a news anchor (or reporter) to tell people how to behave? That memo must have come out after I left the news anchoring business a couple years ago.
Did you notice the number of radio and TV news folks who preached to us during the height of the blizzard this past Tuesday night and Wednesday morning to “stay home, stay off the roads?” It used to be the role of the news person to report such warnings, if they were issued by duly appointed public safety officials or the National Weather Service, but now it seems these personal urgings from the news folks supersede official pronouncements.
Or is it just that way in Madison, a/k/a Nannytown USA?
My friend JB, a writer/editor/part-time radio guy, blogged “Snow snow snow oh my god snow everybody go out buy food stay home it’s the end snowstorm blizzard frozen death snow aggggggggh.” As he pointed out, it used to be that news folks reported what was going on, but left the actual decisions up to the audience.
Maybe it’s just because I’m overly aware of the way English is used by broadcasters, but to me, there’s a world of difference between “The State Patrol is not recommending travel anywhere in the southern half of Wisconsin tonight” and “if you don’t have to travel tonight, please stay home, stay off the roads.”
About the snarkiest I’d ever get during my on-air days was to say something like “The Dane County Sheriff’s Department is advising against travelling on the roads today, because most are still ice-or-snow-covered and slippery; just remember, you pay the first 500 dollars, or whatever your car insurance deductible is.”
I’d rather be snarked at, than nannied to.
Posted by Tim Morrissey at 9:12 AM