Seattle TV News: Provincial and Parochial
We moved to Seattle in 1998 and think it’s a wonderful place to live. Before coming here, I lived all over the place: Jerusalem, Dublin, L.A., the Bay Area, New York City and Westchester. I’ve hated television news in every city I’ve lived in in the U.S. The worst was L.A. because to judge by the news footage there was a heinous crime committed every 30 seconds. The LA TImes once reported that when TV news viewers were asked how much crime there was in the city, they overestimated by as much as 50%. All because that’s what the news seemed to be telling them.
TV news is designed to shock, titillate and scare viewers; but most emphatically not to inform them and certainly not to cover the major issues of the day. Seattle’s TV news is also laughable, but for different reasons. I remember the first year we moved here, I was watching the 11 PM news and the lead story was about an old lady’s cat that had been shot while sitting in the lady’s tree. This was the lead story!! But if you think about it, this story has all the great angles: a defenseless little old lady, a horrible mysterious villain shooting innocent creatures, a poor defenseless cat, etc. Perfect!
Now, we have a comparable tale of woe in KOMO TV’s March 9th story by Kevin Reece which led the 11 PM news: ‘I Think He Messed With The Wrong Couple Of Girls’. To hear the tale of villainy and crime, we should perhaps let the participants tell it themselves:
Ana fought off the Thin Mint Thief!
credit: KOMO TV
Eleven year old Ana and her mom Tamara were selling Girl Scout cookies in the entryway of Fred Meyer on S. Burlington Boulevard Sunday night. They quickly became suspicious of a man who passed by their table at least three times. But they never thought he’d attack.
“I thought who’s gonna steal Girl Scout cookie money,” Ana told KOMO 4 News. “It’s not something you imagine happening to Girl Scouts.” But that’s exactly what he tried to do: lunging at their cash box that had $100 inside.
“He came back in fully running, grabbed the money box, pulled my mom over the table,” said Ana. “She had her hands on it. It sent cookies and things flying all over.”
“All I remember is being on the ground and him trying to pull the box away from me,” said Ana’s mom Tamara. “And I was just hanging on for dear life and screaming at him.”
“I don’t know what was going through his mind, maybe he just thought, oh taking candy from a baby let’s go, easy as pie, no big deal. Actually I think he messed with the wrong couple of girls.”
Yup, that’s the lead story on Seattle’s evening news. And I bet in this town that passes for a major news story. More important than Mayor Nickles recognizing gay marriages performed out of state. More important than the multi-billion dollar Monorail and Sound Transit mass transit projects. More important than the region’s sinking economy and joblessness. Give ’em a choice between a real story dealing with life and death issues like jobs, commuting, and public policy; and a non-story like poor defenseless people beset by sordid villains and I know which they’ll pick every time.
Insofar as I have any problems with Seattle this is it: it is a wannabe hip, diverse, cool city. It tries to be tolerant and forward thinking. But every so often, something terribly insular and provincial happens that makes you sit up and say: “Ah, so that’s what Seattle must’ve been like 25 years ago (pre-Microsoft) when it was a sleepy little burg.” The problem isn’t that Seattle’s reach exceeds its grasp. The problem is Seattle’s reach sometimes falls far short of its grasp. Those are the times when you realize that while Seattle is a world class city, it is still sometimes stuck in its past.
1 thought on “Seattle TV News: Provincial and Parochial – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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I once went to a forum on this issue and asked the question why Seattle news feels so…. well… fluffy. I got a prepared response which didn’t really help answer the question. I think it is a sign of the aloofness of the Pacific Northwest culture in general… it is kind of a ho hum kind of place. Which is actually why I like it, I just wish it didn’t carry over to the news.
Good news on Nickels although I wish he would have had the political courage to go all the way like Mayor Newsom. I think the local governments really has a leg to stand on with this issue. I hear Sims convinced a gay couple to do his dirty work for him because he doesn’t have the guts to take on the state, and then he got pissed at Dan Savage for beating him to the punch. I guess only politically correct homosexuals have the right to get married. Who am I to accuse though, most in my party, accept the Governator, would put them on an island if they had a chance.