July 12, 2009 at 8:04 pm (By Miles Lascaux) ()

I’m thinking of this story, but it could be any one.

For the first 12 hours after an incident, tragedy, or event, the news and chatter will be about what happened. From hour 13 to eternity, the news and chatter will be what people said about what happened. Then what they said about what other people said.


  1. Rod said,

    There is a sadly predictable “round up the usual suspects” quality about the “what people said” portion of the cycle. If the story has a racial angle, you know we will be hearing from the Revs. Jackson and Sharpton. A local politician or two will come out to deplore racism and call for an investigation. (This will usually be done without even considering whether any governmental entity was involved.) If you are not in the Philadelphia area, your local paper or TV stations may interview a local NAACP leader.

    If the story has a women’s rights angle, expect to hear from the President of NOW, etc. There are designated Christians and designated Jews in the usual suspects club. In my town, there is a designated Mother Against Drunk Driving who shows up on TV after every alcohol related traffic fatality.

  2. Randy said,

    There’s a bit more to that story than first meets the eye.

  3. Callimachus said,

    Oh, a great deal more than was reported. And it was amusing to watch it unfold. First, you had the initial allegation. The next step by the news networks was to go out and find every person likely to give an indignation sound byte: prominent black swimmers, heads of civil rights groups, etc.

    Only in local media did it emerge that there were other city summer programs that had signed up to use the pool, brought muti-ethnic groups of kids there, and felt no evidence of discrimination. They, too, had their deposits returned by the club, and seemed to understand the explanation given.

    Eventually that did get reported nationwide. You could almost feel the grudgingness of it. That’s not the end of the story, either. But it was instructive to watch what the big media did — and didn’t do — on its own.

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