Archive for the ‘TSA Pat-Down Hype’ Category

Over the past few weeks, one of the major stories in the news was the Transportation Security Administration pat-downs and x-ray scans in airports. After the one of the busiest travel days of the year, Thanksgiving Eve, the question arises: Did the T.S.A. pat-downs cause the story or did the media? What started out as a video link, turned into a Twitter and Google explosion of outrage and unrest. The story flooded headlines and reporters flocked to airports to see the results of the online protest, National Opt-Out Day. According to David Carr’s article in The New York Times, the hysteria was nothing but hype during a slow time for news.

In a perfect world, the media’s role is to report the news, not create it. But, as we all know, this is far from a perfect world. The number of media outlets is uncountable and newspapers, news broadcasts and the internet have to report about something. There can never be a day without news. Not to mention the millions of amateurs out there that have twitter and facebook accounts that can’t go a day without posting something on their mind. After all, it’s part of the human genome to want to share and receive information. But, is the media overplaying their role by reporting about something that hasn’t happened yet? Are they causing turmoil by making assumptions about how people will react? I hate to be indecisive, but I will anyway, yes and no.

The media needs to provide the public with information they want to hear, as well as the information they need to hear. Let’s say, John Doe reads on his facebook about a major issue concerning security measures at his local airport and he happens to have a flight planned in the near future. He would definitely want to know the facts that surround the story. If he were to only have facebook and twitter stories to build his knowledge on the issue, it’s quite possible he’ll receive little to no factual information. His local media outlets wouldn’t be doing its viewers and readers justice to ignore a potential situation.

Now to portray the Al Pacino aspect (Devil’s Advocate), the media should not be causing distress among the masses like many may have experienced leading up to the potential Y2K fiasco. Sure it could’ve been a world wide disaster, but when the day came and went, the stress and fear was all for naught. Is it possible that the media helped prepare the country for the worst…sure, but in the end it was a lot of hype for nothing. The media is supposed to present the facts in a well-researched fashion for all to determine their own decisions. When the media pounces on an issue before it even becomes an issue, it is only hurting its own image. Everyone has heard about the boy who cried wolf, in this instance, that boy happens to be the town crier. So, to all my future media colleagues, how about a little less speculation and a more concise presentation of the facts.