4:13 PM EDT, August 30, 2011
Is there anyone else out there in America who is absolutely sick of hearing every detail about the recent earthquake, and now Hurricane Irene? The only reason we are not still hearing about the earthquake is because it happened too fast for advance coverage, and was overtaken by advance coverage of the hurricane. Yes, it has been an unusual week.
But why do I need to see a reporter standing in the wind-driven surf at Ocean City, hours before the heart of the storm is there, and pointing out to me that someone's siding has come off the building already? Are people really this curious about the details that go on everywhere each day? Why should anyone, except the owner of that building, be concerned about that siding, save perhaps for their insurance company?
Today's media coverage is obsessed with images and data, processed in a constant stream, and in a way that detracts from quality of life. It's not that there are not legitimate public safety concerns, but the type of coverage the public routinely receives on these things goes way beyond public safety needs.
We are not receiving all this information because it is helpful but because it is possible to collect and propagate it so easily today. We are playing with technology instead of simply living. The most difficult part of admitting this is that we have forgotten how to distinguish one from the other.
Frank O'Keefe, Baltimore
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