Friday, February 27, 2015

And then this happened: A follow-up (of sorts) to Wednesday's entry

Wednesday, I detailed an on line interaction that started out nasty (I'm still not sure why) and got worse (definitely don't know why). Today, I'd like to detail one that worked out quite nicely.

I would never call myself a media watchdog or anything like that. I don't pay attention to any particular news outlets on a regular basis and I'm not nearly passionate about scrutinizing everything they say and do. Sometimes, though, a thing will come to my attention that doesn't look quite right and when that happens, I'll take a minute to bring it to people's attention. It's not about nitpicking, looking for things to be upset and outraged over, it's about reacting to a situation with the hope of enforcing some minimal standards for accountability. That's how I see it anyway. Everybody should do that when the situation calls for it. There's nothing wrong with being called out from time to time. Most of us have jobs where we put up with that kind of thing in one form or another.

Here's an example: Recently, a young girl was the victim of a simply horrendous crime here in the area. Our local ABC television outlet (WFTS, Channel 28), published a cheesy-looking (my opinion) meme graphic on their Facebook page and urged their followers to show their support for the poor girl by favorite-ing it and sharing it on their individual pages. My question, posted in response on that Facebook thread, was how exactly would doing that benefit anyone... other than WFTS and their Facebook analytic stats, and ultimately their ad rates, of course. I received no answer of any kind, but I know they read it and I feel good about calling them out on their bullshit.

More recently, as in last week, a local woman was reported missing and a search was launched. On Sunday, reports came in that a car was found in a lake near her home and that a body inside matched the woman's physical description. That's when this Tweet from local NBC television outlet (WFLA, Channel 8) anchorman Rod Carter came across my timeline...

“@WFLARod: Divers on scene of a underwater vehicle recovery... Keep ya posted.”
 "Keep ya posted" struck me as lacking the appropriate gravitas the situation called for. I wasn't outraged or offended, I just thought it sounded kind of inappropriate. That's the kind of thing you say after you tell your friends you're thinking about picking up a pizza, not after cops find a body when everyone in town . So I responded with this...

Then this conversation ensued...

Isn't that nice? It kind of restores my faith in the hope that civility isn't dead. I do feel bad that I led off with a smart-ass remark, but in my defense, I was expecting either a battle, in which case I wanted to set the tone early, or a non-response, in which case I wanted it to read as a dark joke. I'm relieved that instead of either of those things, Mr. Carter agreed, acknowledged that it was somewhat inappropriate and took complete responsibility. To me, that's all you can reasonably ask of someone when they get something less-than-right. No hurt feelings. No screaming. No insults. No buck-passing. No internet muscles of any kind on display. After what happened last time, I'm actually kind of glad this happened.

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