Egypt emergency: Social media trumps network news


English: Deborah Feyerick, a journalist from CNN

On several occasions I have blogged about what I refer to as the attempt, by several media outlets, to sanitize the news. In one instance I mentioned CNN’s coverage of the manhunt for Boston Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and in particular how, when things looked like they were coming to a head, reporter Deborah Feyerick  informed viewers that a six or seven second delay would be

Why? We’ve watched the events so far, now you’re gong to tell us what is and isn’t suitable for us to see! That’s just wrong.

used. Why? We’ve watched the events so far, now you’re gong to tell us what is and isn’t suitable for us to see! That’s just wrong. I’m not looking for gore, there are plenty of websites that provide that if I want it; I’m just not comfortable thinking news is being altered, filtered and massaged before being presented to me. I’m a big boy, give it to me straight.

Last evening CNN’s coverage of the latest violence in Egypt featured some pretty raw video. Street scenes of people shooting and being shot illustrated the dire situation being faced by those in Cairo. Valiant efforts to get the wounded to medical help, provided a touching insight into the mayhem. According to the voice-over, much of the video was taken from social media. Was it pleasant? No. Did it happen? Yes. Was it news? Absolutely. How the tables have turned. With the proliferation of high-quality smart phone cameras the “traditional” media now rely on the person in the street for news.

Was it pleasant? No. Did it happen? Yes. Was it news? Absolutely.

Although the images on my screen were horrific they provided a sense of just how bad the situation is. It was reminiscent of the film shown on news broadcasts of Vietnam in the late sixties and seventies. Perhaps the mass media people have figured out that if they make drastic edits to the social media content their audience will simply switch to the original source.

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