A comedy break: Jon Stewart, one of my heroes, has weighed in on the ridiculous coverage our media give to floods.
I can't stand to watch TV news coverage of any kind, but yesterday decided to give it a try, and watched in horror as Diane Sawyer, in waders, showed video of a harmless water snake and described it as "deadly poisonous" and "having no fear whatsoever of humans."
No history, no coverage of flood policy, no mention of why so many houses are underwater in Memphis.
Snakes: I've worked in water all my life, grew up in the southern swampland, and (bonus) have been bitten by a poisonous snake (it's not a big deal but you get to talk about it forever).
Snakes are the last thing people need to worry about in a flood like this, but invariably the idiotic "snake infested floodwaters" meme emerges.
Because so much of the media (TV in particular) thinks its job is to entertain and frighten people. And flood control policy is not very entertaining. So we get shallow, meaningless coverage of a historic, devastating flood.
So we can look forward to more flood suffering and economic loss, none of which, I'm sure, will involve snakebite.
Here's a link if the embedded video gives you problems.
Labels: Diane Sawyer, flood policy, Jon Stewart, media, reporting, snakes