Friday, March 7, 2008

Should TV News Feature Disturbing Videos?

I am so tired of hearing during a new cast, something along the lines of “warning: this video may be disturbing” or “we have the shocking video” or “if you have little children you may want to have them leave the room." Many times these warnings come on during the morning or late day newscasts, when people – and families – are sitting down to breakfast or dinner.

Of course, there is usually only a nanosecond between the time the warning is given, and the time the video begins, so there is little chance to change the channel or get anyone out of the room. Of course, if one happens to be eating, these videos can sometimes ruin an appetite.

Has the news stooped so low for content that we have to see something almost daily that shows sometimes the most horrific side of humanity or people at their very worst? I know that the news media sometimes has to struggle to fill their time with content, especially for the never ending, ubiquitous morning shows which run hours on end. Still, if it’s something that they have to warn me about, does it really warrant a place on the daytime news? Or, would it kill them to say, for example, “in one minute we will show a video that may be disturbing so if you wish you can change the channel.” Don’t hold your breath to hear that, because stations never want you to change the channel away from them.

My suggestion is that with many people having Internet access, point the viewer to the station’s or network’s web site if they want to view the video. Or, tell viewers they will only show it on their late (10 or 11 PM) newscasts, which would probably only mean that more adult eyes will be looking at it.

And please, some of these videos really have no place on the news to begin with because it’s questionable whether some of them are really news. Since many people are getting their news from the Internet and places like YouTube, I can see where the TV networks have to try to stay in that loop if they want to continue to attract viewers.

But please networks, if you read this, at least give the viewers a chance to choose whether they want to see the shocking video of the day. To do otherwise is, well, just disturbing.

Check out my blog home page for the latest information,here.

No comments: