Squirrel!

I wonder about the value of scaring folks on TV. The idea came to me while eating lunch and watching the news on CNN. To be truthful, if you want to know what the news is, you have to read the little trailer at the bottom of the screen. The screen area of the TV is taken up by whichever personality is “hosting” that hour, and whatever “experts” CNN can get to come on and expose their ignorance to the world. This particular hour was Ashleigh Banfield’s to exploit what ever topic de jour she wanted to pontificate on.

Most times I’m able to just lightly engage my brain and marvel at how the news world works in these modern times. It seems, the big network news agencies found out a few years ago that actually having reporters investigate stories was expensive, so they dropped the practice. Barring a news item the size of 9-11, the CNN anchors can just read the news from the various wire services and sleep in their own beds at night. CNN is then able to fill the hours of the day with their “personalities” analyzing the news item forever.

Such is the case with the recent shootings in Kalamazoo, Michigan. To my knowledge there are no CNN employees on site in Kalamazoo. CNN is relying on local news people and the wires to share their footage with CNN. Then the CNN talking heads fill the hours expounding on their “take” of what the story means to us all. This is what was going on when I sat down to eat my lunch.

Ashleigh Banfield was railing with some poor fool about how since Michigan had banned the death penalty in their sentencing, that the Kalamazoo shooter would not be able to be killed by the state. “And if there ever was a crime that the death penalty was designed for, this was certainly it”. Well, excuse me for trying to eat lunch while you are trying to slake your bloodlust. I guess Canadian by birth Banfield has really embraced her American citizenship when it comes to capital punishment. I wonder if she might find Saudia Arabia to be her true Utopia.

As disturbing as this twist in “reporting” was, the bemoaning of the loss of capital punishment against an “alleged” murderer, I find the omission of the perpetrator’s mental state equally as disturbing. To paraphrase Banfield, “if there ever was a crime that the insanity defense was designed for, this was certainly it”. Apparently fair and balanced news reporting doesn’t gain the viewership that knee jerk reactionayrism does. The ability to convey righteous indignation to millions of viewers is another of Banfield’s “reporting” techniques. It goes well with opinions, not so much actual news.

Another disturbing twist of the story has been the focus on the fact that the suspect was an Uber driver. Over and over and over and over again the alleged shooter was labeled as “Uber driver” Dalton. Faint mention that a month ago he was insurance salesman Dalton. Do we conclude that driving for Uber drove Dalton into madness? Do we conclude that all Uber drivers are potential mass shooters, so you better call Yellow Cab? Where is this incessant attempt to paint one of America’s great success stories, Uber, in a bad way coming from?

That’s an investigative story I’d really like to hear. How does tarring Uber have any bearing on the real story? I’ve given up on anyone doing an investigation on how unstable people are able to walk into a gun shop and walk out with a gun. Maybe “Uber” is “squirrel” to the public. You know, when you want your dog to look the other way, you point and say “squirrel”.

I guess Benfield and the ilk are using “Uber” to “squirrel” us away from “guns”. Uber! Did you look the other way?

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