I was rather rudely awakened last night by another round of lightning, thunder and yes rain. In utter disgust I returned to bed at sometime after 4am, finally falling into a fitful sleep. I awoke and got up in my normal manner, started water for my coffee, grunted a good morning to the Contrarian who was playing poker online, and turned on the TV to watch a bit of GMA before George Stephanopolos. Instead I found the ABC affiliate, KCRG Channel 9 on the air, droning on about the “Flood of 08.” It got me to thinking.
Actually, it didn’t get me to thinking, for I had been doing a good deal of that for a couple of days. It got my stark raving mad, foaming at the mouth, and a homicidal danger to any so-called journalist who might be thinking of coming down to the holler to see what I think. When is enough, well, enough? When have you said all you can say enough times that no more in all sense of decency can be said?
I don’t know when the when was reached, but I’m damned sure it’s been reached. Yet, they don’t seem to get it. The drone on and on in relentless retelling of the same tired stories. I’ve seen the same dog rescued six times in a one hour. I’ve listened to the same tales of the woes of motoring by boat down residential streets (beware of low lying cars submerged, and fences if you are planning to engage in this practice). I’ve been told 637 times not to enter the area. I’ve been told not to swim, picnic, near or in the water, and certainly not to drink it.
Now, I agree that it is probably the story of the century, certainly of the decade. I agree that the first 24 hours, the various local stations provided invaluable information to persons near and far. That has all passed. All those in danger, know rather vividly they are in trouble. Nobody is any longer wondering if they are in the flood plain. They are either dry or wet, and most can tell the difference.
I don’t even mind that you consider day-time programming as worthless sludge to be pushed aside even if it were only to show circus elephants coming into town. So I relented on Friday when you continued wall to wall coverage of the water, at least until the nightly national news. I expected to see something then other than the woes of Cedar Rapids and the coming woes of Iowa City. But alas I was wrong.
You continued in unrelenting masturbatory ecstasy your self-indulgent babbling. For by then, and through, unbelievable as it may seem, ALL of Saturday, and now into Sunday, it became clear that this was all about you, broadcaster, and not about anything else. This is something to tell your grand kids about–how gramps and grandma talked for 12 hours straight, barely taking a pause, a tour de force of which you are most proud.
You have long since failed to tell me anything at all I need to know that could not be run down in a five minute segment once an hour or covered by the incessant scroll we have come to accept as normal. I am instead treated to peeks inside business windows. “By golly, the water overturned the tables in this one, nope, the wine glasses are still sitting on the tables in this one. Gosh, Joe, look at that park bench floating down the street! I personally know those things are bolted down. Mighty strong current that river has.”
It doesn’t stop there of course. Within the year, these same self-important, self-congratulatory fools will be alerting me in their “Watch us” commercials, with tales of their awards won for coverage of the big flood of 08. Award winning my ass, if you will excuse my language (I’m really steamed, as you can see). Half of what I am now forced to see are nothing but interns, who sound like high school kids on their first ever attempt with a microphone. Valley girls with a lot of “you know, wowie,” and flashing smiles meant to cover up the fact that they are way in over their heads here, figuratively if not literally so. I suspect that down to the maintenance crew, everyone was given a microphone and told to go out and be ready to babble about water, whatever may come to mind, when the little red light goes on.
Although we are told that the airways are owned by the people, we have zero control over this. I would fire off an email, but of course, it would be ignored as the ranting of an ungrateful self-centered Iowan who doesn’t care about the plight of her fellow Iowans. Such of course is ludicrous, but I also know they won’t entertain the thought that they are doing a huge disservice, to this community.
Why do I know this? Because this pattern is everywhere on the airways these days, and as far back as I can remember it has been so. Tim Russert died Friday. I truly respected the guy, watched Meet the Press often, and thought him a cut above the average Journalist. I don’t mind, and in fact would have welcomed watching the hour special NBC did on him last Friday night, but of course I couldn’t since they were broadcasting only the flood here in Iowa. Yet when we turned on Saturday to MSNBC to see some other news, what do we get? Nothing but wall to wall coverage of the life of Tim Russert. Every journalist in town was invited it seems to stop by and relate their favorite story. Talk about your self-importance magnified to the nth degree.
As I said, Mr. Russert was a fine man by all accounts, but is this news? My other alternative is Fox? A band of interchangeable blond bimbos who wouldn’t understand the news if it hit them between the eyes? CNN was the only resort.
What these self-absorbed idiots fail to get, and of course don’t care even if they do, is that they are the ones contributing most to stress in Iowa today. I want to see something normal for a change of pace. I want to see normal people doing normal things somewhere. I don’t even require that the news is good news. You are trying to make my entire world this flood and I’ve had enough. I need to know that another world actually still exists. I know that I can’t go to Cedar Rapids, and I won’t be able to go their perhaps for weeks. You don’t need to keep telling me of that hundreds of times now. I get it.
The people of Parkersburg must feel awful. They had most of their darn town destroyed by a killer tornado, and seven or so people killed. Yet no one suggested that the Channels 9 or KWWL 7 in Cedar Rapids should stop all coverage of the world for them. Four young scouts died in another tornado the same day the flooding started, and neither 9 or 7 bothered to even MENTION it, let alone break their relentless coverage of water to tell us about it. How did those families feel to be so ignored?
But I sure learned that 9 had lost power and was operating on its generator. Thanks for letting me know that, I needed that information. Oh, I guess that was because it happened to YOU. And after all, it’s really all about YOU isn’t it? Get over yourself, all of you so-called journalists. You don’t do much of a job most days that anyone could call journalism in the first place. You read, for the most part, okay, but that’s about all. Get off your self-important flat butts and tell me about what’s happening in the world, instead of doing the easy job of flapping your jaws about what the symptoms are for an early delivery if I’m pregnant. (Yes I do mean they are down to such trivia as if this is important flood information.)
And if you see me coming down the sidewalk in Cedar Rapids some weeks or months from now, better move to the other side of the street. This anger is likely going to stay in place for some time. In fact, I’d stay locked up in that studio of yours if I were you. I’m quite sure I’m not the only one looking to give you a good lashing for your insensitive and wholly self-serving drivel. It’s just what I was thinking about today.