Imitation: sincerest form of… well not flattery in this case.

Yesterday I spoke with a local TV news station, and confirmed some of what they had been told about security for the memorial service. That report ran last night, and before it was over I had a call from a national news agency, ironically doing a story on security. I happen to know that a producer for this network is in the area, and I suspect she was working on content for their later newscast, saw the story on TV and jumped on it.

So I gave the same information to her. Their report was not as detailed as the local one, but they hit on a couple of issues. I almost laughed at the timing of the call. The local report was not even over before the phone rang.

On a national level, there’s not really that much to report. Some of these newscasts try to fill an hour with stories about cases like this, and they have to stretch. So, here’s a case where the national news followed the lead of one of the local station. One problem, they had a local reporter from a different station on their show, but she had not done a similar story that day. So, when asked about security, she didn’t know much. Live TV. Things happen. She shifted to what she did know and the report was fine, but it felt like they were really reaching.

Aside from the fact that appropriate security measures are being taken, most people don’t care about whether people will be allowed in with bags or not. Locally that matters because there’s a higher likelihood people will attend. I think this is a case of finding filler rather than finding really important news.

These shows that live off of controversy and sensationalism must continually generate content that plays that up. Otherwise their ratings dry up. Trying to do a story on security could generate that if things were not being taken care of, but they are. So what you get is a host asking an onsite reporter to comment on whether bags are being searched and why, and an answer of “I don’t really know”. It’s news, but not really controversial, unless you generate that controversy.