"Some may find the details of this disturbing," said Elaine Quijano on "CBS This Morning." "Ghoulish stabbing raises question: Who Is Slenderman?" asked CNN.com which calls him "the Internet's own monster, a ghoul who lurks in its darkest corners" and "a menacing, faceless specter in a dark suit — sometimes portrayed with octopus-like tentacles."
The sensational crime, which actually pre-empted weather as the lead story on local stations, made the once cautionary disclaimer, "It's 10 p.m. Do you know where your children are?" seem quaint, even naive.
Anchors, producers and reporters hauled out the sober hyperbole. WITI-TV (Channel 6) used eerie, music-like sound effects. The victim was "a millimeter away from certain death," said co-anchor Mary Stoker Smith. Her co-anchor, Ted Perry, called the crime "the shock rippling through Waukesha." Earlier on "Studio A" on WITI, he said the story will "chill you to the bone." But he probably wished he could take back speculation about whether Slender Man "really exists or not, I'm not sure at this point."
The crime was "graphic, disturbing and hard to believe," said Meekins, as a WTMJ onscreen headline screamed "Slumber Party Stabbing" and later "Plot to Kill." Reporter Jermont Terry practically leaped off the screen describing the crime and sat on a bicycle while reporting that the victim was discovered by a bicyclist. WISN reporter Christina Palladino prefaced her report by noting "the people I talked to literally have no words" and then interviewed people who used words to speak on camera.
It always amazes me that media company execs bemoan the lack of youth appeal in their products, when ten seconds of watching any kind of report on anything online at all would make anybody with a fraction of familiarity with the Internet double over in embarrassment. TV reporters who I dearly hope USE the Internet on a daily basis report on it like it's a foreign land and the customs are strange to us all.