So a guy somewhere ate another guy’s face off.
When it comes to the news, that’s really all the information that’s is necessary. Anything more than that amounts to little more than voyeuristic details that may or may not be true because the journalists who covered it got their information from police officers who have only just begun to investigate what happened. While I don’t know this for a fact, I would bet the first reporting of the situation was gleaned from a police report written by a police officer whose skill set doesn’t include writing good copy.
Somewhere along the line, the face eating attack was presented with headlines calling it a zombie attack (presumably online blogs started this angle). Talk of a zombie apocalypse quickly followed, especially when several other incidents had just the right details to twist them into a zombie attack scenario too.
Now there is grumbling among some news consumers about zombies being invoked in any way, shape, or form, when these stories are reported, or blogged about online.
Apparently these folks who complain have no understanding of what journalism is about. I’d venture to say they’ve never taken the time to dig deep into the history of cinema and watch movies like Ace in the Hole, Front Page, or even Network News, which do a marvelous job of exposing what really motivates newspapers, television news, blogs, and any other source one might engage to get information.
In case you haven’t noticed, the media isn’t directly subsidized by the federal government. If these entities want to survive, they have to make the numbers. They need circulation, or views, they need advertising, they need marketing, and they need a good product people want to devour.
When an opportunity comes along to label something a zombie attack, they are gonna take it.
Ace in the Hole is about a hotshot journalist who wore out his welcome in New York, Chicago, Detroit, and every other major market between Maine and New Mexico, who finds himself begging for a job at a small-time rag in Albuquerque where he hopes to find the story that’s gonna get him back in the good graces of big-time editors. The journalist, played by Kirk Douglas, finds his opportunity while on the way to a rattlesnake roundup three hours outside of town.
He and his photographer stop at a small gas station and learn of a man trapped in a nearby cave.
Douglas goes carpe diem on the situation, climbs into the cave and not only gets the story, but gets photos and enough information about the scenario that he takes control of the rescue operation.
Rather than go the direct route to retrieve the trapped man in a matter of hours, he arranges for the rescue to take at least six days to give him more opportunity to hype the story and sell newspapers.
This is not far from the reality of being a news reporter.
Whether your local television reporter, print reporter, blogger, or whatever will admit it, most salivate over the opportunity to cover something sensational that is going to be the lead story and the thing everybody is going to be talking about. How do I know this? I spent 10 years working as a journalist.
I’ve seen smiles slide across the faces of reporters who learn there was another high-profile shooting, or when someone loses their mind and makes a public spectacle while doing so.
A long, long time ago, during a career from which I am far removed, there were a series of sniper-style shootings believed to be copycats of the DC Sniper shootings which was still fresh in the minds of the national news audience.
The events brought in national media outlets like CNN, Fox News, NPR, and dozens of other misery peddlers. Several shootings took place during a short period of time and then stopped.
As each day passed, the grumbling from reporters grew louder.
“I wish someone else would get shot or something else would happen at the very least. We’re running out of material.”
Stories like these are the low hanging fruit of journalism. They don’t take much research to put a story together and they sell, sell, sell.
So those who feel inclined to grumble about things like zombie apocalypses finding their way into news reports, you might want to look a little deeper and begin complaining about the real issue that makes the news business so horrible. Rather than being a defender of the people, and a cog in the checks and balances meant to keep our government honest, they would rather sell you cheap, inconsequential news they can head with a sensational headline. Be that headline one hyping cannibals or zombies is inconsequential.
Stop supporting cheap news and allowing media tycoons to get rich from it.
Make them work for their stories and justify the inclusion of “Freedom of the Press” in the First Amendment.
Disclaimer: Jeremy wants to make it clear the views expressed here are not his own, but that of someone he met online whose views might be completely different. Roxy is indifferent about the content altogether unless her name is mentioned somewhere in it. Acid Pop Cult itself does not necessarily support these views either. Lee’s on his own with this shit.