Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Real Reality Show

From the Chicago Tribune...

One of the most powerful things about television is the illusion it lends viewers of being somewhere else — in the midst of the action — effortlessly, comfortably, safely. From our living rooms, we can go into space, under the sea and anywhere in between under any conditions while others dutifully accept the dangers of taking us there. So there is a certain level of detachment as we siphon their adrenaline rush from our living rooms, whether watching a football game played in weather better suited for the Iditarod sled-dog race or getting dropped into the heart of a revolution.

But you had to feel it in the pit of your stomach when CBS said Tuesday that "60 Minutes" correspondent Lara Logan was in a hospital, recovering from a beating and sexual assault she suffered at the hands of a mob while covering the Tahrir Square celebrations in Egypt the day that Hosni Mubarak stepped down as president last week.The media, like politicians, have drawn a lot of criticism of late, not all of it unjustified. You may not be a fan of a particular organization or individual. You may question who gets sent where and when and why. You can scrutinize the work they do. But never question the dedication of those who put themselves at risk. Never underestimate the difficulties and dangers. Never forget the cost, not just for the organizations that send newspeople into the middle of a situation like Cairo, but for those who get sent and the others in their lives. "You have the Middle East in complete turmoil," NBC News boss Steve Capus said in an interview the other day. "These are incredibly important times. Perhaps it's a quaint notion, but investing in news at a time like this, to me, makes sense. The audience is hungry for it." It's only when you pause to think of it that you recognize the potential danger they and their crew were in, even while taking precautions. So pause.

Chicago Tribune

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