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All the news that’s fit to fling

April 3, 2009 - 11:09 am

Watching the live cable news coverage of the Binghamton shooting crisis, I’m wondering how our big-haired media cousins have the balls to call this news..

Faced with an onslaught of raw data, including uncorroborated reports from bystanders who may or may not have witnessed what they report and news affiliate live feeds, the networks have chosen to fling it all at the viewers in the hopes that at least some of the information might prove accurate. CNN continually cuts to an over-caffeinated affiliate reporter who has set up a rope line of bystanders and is interviewing them one by one, asking questions like “So is the hostage situation over? Are all the shooters in custody?” All of which CNN is broadcasting, unfiltered and unconfirmed, around the world..

MSNBC has chosen this crisis to showcase its Google Earth graphics, continually displaying satellite images of Binghamton as seen from space…we are reminded on a minute by minute basis of the town’s latitudinal and longitudinal position and its close proximity to a river. All of which will prove useful should Superman decide to swoop in to the rescue..

Fox is obsessed with the racial or ethnic composition of the shooter/s and the victims…”Are they Asians? Are they Asians?” Geraldo keeps asking..

Based on a comment from a bystander that the hostage situation appears to be over, MSNBC has announced the hostage situation appears to be over, and has switched to regular programming…

CNN says it has confirmed reports of at least five people shot but no confirmation on fatalities…onscreen is a graphic saying “At least 4 people dead”…

Fox is now reporting Binghamton’s need for Vietnamese language translators, that three Asian men may have been taken into custody and that hostages may still inside the building… Geraldo says he “continues to believe that it is entirely possible” the shooter is or shooters are among the dead in the building and that police arrested the Asian men due to an over-abundance of caution, because in situations like this where there’s a lot of conflicting information (like that being broadcast by Fox), police “very understandably engage in profiling”…

A CNN graphic now shows at least 12 people are dead….a Fox graphic shows 15 dead, though the news anchor says the number of dead “appears to be 12, possibly as high as 14”….MSNBC continues to hold that the situation appears to be over, but occasionally cuts from its regular programming to reports that as many as 40 people may still be held hostage inside.

UPDATE:  At a news conference held just a few minutes ago, Binghampton Mayor Matthew Ryan called for the news media to show restraint, and New York Gov. David Paterson and Binghamton Police Chief Joseph Zikuski both lamented the media’s coverage of the shootings.  Paterson said:  “There have been a variety of erroneous reports and inaccurate information floating around that only exacerbates an already tension-filled situation.”

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