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April 26, 2013

NASH: The reality of news

It has been about a year since I complained in this column about the lack of reality in “reality” television. It just stands to reason when you add a television camera to the mix that it will change the outcome of the situation. I find most of the shows repugnant and an insult to the intelligence of most human beings. I do not understand why most of these shows have such a following and why they have remained on the air so long and have spawned so many clones.

 I will admit that Wednesday night when I came home from work my wife was watching the season finale of “Duck Dynasty.” This show follows the Robertson clan who made their family fortune with the company Duck Commander, a popular brand of duck call. I sat down and watched the show and I must  confess that I was somewhat entertained. Even though I enjoyed this show, it doesn’t mean that I believe it has anything to do with actual reality.

Last week reality television was redefined as the events surrounding the Boston Marathon bombings unfolded. The world watched live as the two improvised explosive devices were detonated near the finish line of one of the world’s most popular races.  We saw in real time as tragedy struck on American soil one more time.

We stared at our television screens as they replayed runners crossing the finish line, falling as they were hit by shrapnel. We cheered as stories of acts of heroism were told, like the runners who ran straight to the hospital to donate blood after completing the 26.2 mile race. Then we cried when we heard that one of the victims was 8-year-old Martin Richard.

The problem with watching news unfold as it happens is sometimes it becomes part of the story.  This happens when some of the facts that are reported are not as accurate as they should be.  There was several instances where in an effort to get the story first, getting the story correct seemed far less important. There were initial reports that the FBI was looking for a dark skinned man or a possible Saudi national who was believed to be a “person of interest.” 

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