Question for all the journos out there: Is it okay to sanitize broadcast news? Does this bother you, or is it just me?
When does editing cross over into censorship?
Yesterday one of the tv news shows here in the Baltimore area sanitized not one but two stories, all in the same hour. It was not the Sinclair station, nor was it Fox. It was one of the “big-3” network affiliates.
First, they did the story on the apparent suicide of Kate Spade, without including the information that she apparently hanged herself with a scarf tied to a doorknob.
Then, they did the story about the Mayor of Philadelphia responding to the President disinviting the Philadelphia Eagles to a celebration at the White House, without including the Mayor’s most biting criticism of the President.. The statement from the Mayor the tv news show opted not to include was, “…our president is not a true patriot, but a fragile egomaniac obsessed with crowd size and afraid of the embarrassment of throwing a party to which no one wants to attend.”
It’s difficult for me to understand how someone commits suicide by tying a scarf to a doorknob. So maybe it wasn’t suicide? So maybe that should have been included in the story? Also, the Mayor’s comments about President Trump, are kind of essential to doing a complete story on what the Mayor had to say, right? This wasn’t some unknown man on the street interview, it was the Mayor of one of the biggest cities in America.
I knew both these stories had been “sanitized” (not just edited, but censored) because I read newspapers. Many people do not, so they don’t have the advantage of staying properly informed. Well, they have the advantage, but they choose not to use it, which makes the job the broadcast outlets are doing all the more critical.
Is it just me, or is something very basically wrong going on here? Isn’t our job to find out what the hell is going on, you know, the famous “5-W’s,” and then tell our viewers about it, warts and all?