Monday, October 22, 2012

Pathetic TV News Coverage of Brookfield, WI Spa Shooting

Racliffe Haughton Google+
Brookfield, WI-Yesterday, Radcliffe Haughton, 45 went to the spa where his wife worked, gained entrance and began shooting women. 
This was a Sunday when the people responsible for the heavy lifting in the news business were home with their families.  TV stations keep only minimal crews working on the normally slow weekends. 
Local police put out a description of this Black male and his automobile complete with a license plate number.
Soon broadcasters were claiming that the police got the suspect’s race wrong in a misguided effort to shield the Haughton’s actual race from disclosure.  We can only guess what that was about.
TV stations began non-stop broadcasting and webcasting misinformation loaded with buzzwords and gibberish.  This while police were slowly entering offices looking for suspects and victims as they were yet unaware that their suspect lay dead in the building.
The media reporters and anchors suggested that there was a machine-gun or assault rifle used.  Of course they had no clue what those terms actually meant.  They used all kinds of modern police jargon lifted from television programs in a really lame attempt to sound like they knew what they were talking about.  
Later they claimed that police found one or more IEDs or improvised explosive devices.  The reporters suddenly became bomb experts explaining to the public what an IED is and how mechanical robots were being deployed.  The rub here was that nobody, no matter how educated could determine if these were bombs or not by mere observation. 
The reality was police saw an apparent propane tank and simply treated it like a suspected explosive device.  They called in the bomb squad to deal with the item that concerned them. Sensationalism was in overkill and of course the anti-gun rights lobby began to politicize the shooting.  In the end there were no bombs.
The media missed the opportunity to quickly examine court and numerous public records to learn about the suspect and his wife.  The only thing these broadcasters did was to never stop babbling.   They would have better served the public by letting the unfolding video roll silently as they released useful information.
The Milwaukee broadcast media demonstrated that they don’t know how to research public records.  They also never bothered to ask the police spokesmen to describe Houghton’s weapon.
As for useful information the broadcast media lagged far behind Twitter reports.   Granted most of the Twitter reports were unsubstantiated but many of them were solid leads to independently investigate and validate.
To learn about this story I opened and listened to police scanner channels, examined #Brookfieldshooting Twitter posts, and went into various available public records such as court, assessor and recorded documents.  I checked Facebook, and quickly found a disturbing picture of Haughton on his Piccasa and Google+ site.
I quickly learned about Haughton’s former addresses and the location of family members along with many more leads to find out additional information.
In fairness to the reporters and anchors local news long ago stopped being competitive.  Instead of enterprising journalism reporters and producers simply rely on the self-serving disinformation put out by government spokesmen.  The broadcast executives making decisions no longer seem care about their news product.
The days of local broadcast news are ending in a hurry.  The question is whether these media dinosaurs can adapt to a new world where virtually anyone gather and report news.  Right now anyone can simply use an iPhone or iPAd to broadcast whatever they wish on UStream as they post a tease with their link on Twitter.
Could the helicopter video shots be replaced by a small inexpensive drone supplemented by satellite photos of the scene?
Somehow I envision this scenario as the way breaking news will be covered in the near future.
When you think about it a well-equipped mobile team of three could absolutely own any breaking news story in the world.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

(OT)Here is another story that go suppressed by the media: