Story Fatigue

I really, really wanted to be wrong about this, but it’s already this passive-aggressive shitpile of justification:

The CNN anchor Anderson Cooper knows the 24-hour news cycle as well as
anyone, and last week, he lamented that the survivors of theHaiti earthquake would soon fall victim to that reality.

“We all know what’s going to happen” in a week or two, he said to Dr.Sanjay Gupta,
the CNN medical correspondent and a practicing neurosurgeon. “People
are just going to lose interest in this as a story. They’re going to
stop watching.”

Dr. Gupta answered, “In part, it’s up to you and up to us to make sure they don’t forget.”


I mean, what a load of shit. It’s the 24-hour news cycle! You’re helpless against it, major news organization! Hey, what can you do? You might as well just give up and go home, because there’s no way to change it. There’s no way around it. There’s no way under or over or fucking through it. Everybody’s gonna get sick of the story. And we will know this because everybody will say so. Hurr durrr drrr, what can you do?

Here’s what you can do: YOU CAN REFUSE TO LEAVE. If you don’t want to leave the story THEN DON’T LEAVE THE FUCKING STORY. God almighty, I get these people have bosses. I get not everybody can do whatever the fuck they want to do. But you really want to tell me that Anderson Fucking Cooper can’t say to whoever, “Listen, you fucking b-roll monkey, I’m not going anywhere” and they’d, I dunno, fire him? I doubt it. I sincerely, sincerely doubt it. And even if they did, you wanna believe his fine fine ass wouldn’t be snatched up by the next hungry network he ran across?

I realize I’m picking here on somebody who’s done some truly remarkable work the last couple of weeks. This isn’t just about Cooper, but he’s the best example here, acting like he has no choice. You know who has no choice? SOME GODDAMN HAITIAN ORPHAN BURIED UNDER 10 TONS OF CINDER BLOCKS. You have all the choices in the world compared to what’s going on around you. Media can set the agenda, they really can, but for so long they’ve relied on nobody calling them on the fact that they’re the masters of their fate that they think they can spew this shit and nobody will notice it’s just completely NOT TRUE.

The Haitian earthquake survivors “will soon fall victim to that reality?” What kind of passive shit is that? They fell victim to THE EARTH CAVING IN ON THEM, to the world quite literally collapsing. That’s their reality. Your reality is that you don’t stand up and fight for the stories you feel are important because it’s so much easier to just blame the 24-hour news cycle (that your network hadnopart in creating, natch), because if you can find someone to blame then you get to go home!

Mr. Cooper and Dr. Gupta decided over the weekend to stay in Haiti for another week.

“I can’t really imagine going home,” Mr. Cooper wrote onTwitter on Saturday morning. He expressed almost the same sentiment after Katrina.

Quit quitting and then pretending you got beat, goddamn. It’s insulting to your viewers. Never mind your sources.


7 thoughts on “Story Fatigue

  1. A rabbinical phrase to the effect of “You are not obligated to finish the job, but neither are you free to detach yourself from it” comes to mind.
    Dammit, AC, Dr Sanjay, and every news outlet in the country and the world doesn’t HAVE to rebuild Haiti with their bare hands, but by God, they do have a job to do. They are creative people. They can certainly make their cases to stay – they just don’t WANT to.
    If they need treatment to counter the effects of the hell on earth they’ve seen and the chaos and the lack of speed with which the help seems to be coming, that’s one thing. Giving up in the face of the newstainment complex – give ME a BREAK.

  2. They’re staying another week.
    They’re doing the right thing.
    Maybe they can stay longer.
    It’s not Cooper’s fault, personally, or Gupta’s, that their bosses have expectations about ratings.
    It’s not Cooper’s fault, personally, or Gupta’s, that there’s too much too wrong in Haiti to fix with one
    aid telethon. Neither of them shook the earth under Hispaniola two weeks ago tomorrow. Has it been that long, already? Yes.
    They’re doing what they can. D’you reckon maybe they listened to “Feed the World” 25 years ago? D’you reckon maybe “Do They Know It’s Christmas” resonated with them? D’you suppose they’re keeping the cameras aimed at the devastation in hopes that the world won’t forget, won’t shrug and turn back to Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck or some other sociopathic idiot?
    Cooper and Gupta aren’t turning their backs and throwing up their hands.
    They don’t have the power to fix it; but each in his own way has done something, and they’re not quitting.
    So for them Haiti won’t be like an Afghan village or a FOB in Iraq, and that’s a good thing.
    I wish I thought they could eke it out a little longer, keep the lights on, maybe find that boy Cooper handed over the barricade that day and find out what happened to him, maybe talk about what his future’s going to be.
    The story isn’t over, but now it’s not novel anymore. Now, it’s the kind of story Iraq is, the kind of story Afghanistan is, the kind of story Katrina is, the kind of story Rita and Ike are. Now it’s aftermath. Now it’s the long hard not glamorous but no less dangerous slog, the cleanup, the make-better.
    Now it’s the space between the Christmas bills coming in and the Valentine’s presents getting ordered.
    We’re a nation of spoiled brats.
    Cooper and Gupta are acting like adults. Not powerful adults, mind you, but stubborn ones. Ones who aren’t ready to throw in the towel yet.
    They ought to get the props they’re due for that, I think.

  3. Jesus H. Christ on a pogo stick.
    This IS CNN we’re talking about, right? I didn’t just dream that?
    You know what people were calling it a decade and a half ago?The OJ NetworkThat’s what they were calling it. Wall-to-wall OJ Trial Of The Century for month after godforsaken month.
    The only reason that reeking turd remained under our collective noses for so long was because CNN kept holding it there.
    So bullshit about the story “going away” because people “just lose interest” is just a pathetic miserable sorry excuse for bullshit.

  4. Not to be weird about this, but I recall putting the over/under at 12 days. I think it’s ending up being a decent line. Sad, but that’s what we do. Oooh… Look! Angelina Jolie’s adopting another kid! Shiny object!

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