Tuesday, July 29, 2008

24-hour news channels add to panic

24-hour news channels add to panic

Bangalore Bureau

Eveningers go a step further by inflating the number of dead

Bangalore: Bangaloreans who were out on the streets on Friday evening were definitely less panicky than those who were watching 24-hour news television channels given the over-the-top pitch of reporting.

The channels, which ran highly alarmist headlines like “Target Bangalore” and “Bangalore’s Black Friday,” kept repeating visuals.

They did not bother to underline the fact that at least six of the blasts were of such low intensity that the sites bore no signs of damage. Indeed, reporters had to look for the site and even traffic policemen were clueless about the exact site of explosions.

In sharp contrast, the explosion site close to Mallya Hospital, for example, had turned into a curiosity of sorts with all passers by stopping to see what the hullabaloo was about, adding to the traffic chaos. Some even seemed a tad disappointed since there was nothing “dramatic” and even the shrub around the spot of explosion seemed intact.
Jumping the gun

More alarmingly, one reporter of a Kannada channel went to the extent of speculating: “The police have to now investigate whether it was SIMI or Lashkar-e-Toiba which did this.” He added that “all the terrorists activities happening in Karnataka are linked.”

These on-the-spot analysis was attributed to neither the police nor any political leader. This was even as a senior police official interviewed on the same channel went only to the extent of saying that it “looked like it was organised by a single group.”

The eveningers went a step further by inflating even the number of dead. While one death was confirmed till late evening, a Kannada eveninger had a headline that screamed: “Three dead in city.”


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