Friday, June 16, 2006

Heart strings

Thursday is training night for the volunteer fire department The Mr. is part of. Although the fire fighter Olympics are Saturday and The Mr. suspected last night’s training session would be chock full of preparations for that, he came home and said they began with a meeting.

It was about Tuesday’s accident. Chief told the crew that if anyone needed to talk about it or see someone or whatever they needed to do to work through what they saw he would support them. I know you see it all the time, Chief told The Mr. Yeah, he said, and you learn to disconnect, but it still gets you.

And then the conversation turned to the media. The Mr. had told me that some members of the press were at the scene on Tuesday. The extrication hadn’t happened yet and everyone there was determined that no one would film it. And rightly so. There are just some things that people don’t need to see.

Well, as of last night’s meeting, members of the press are no longer allowed on the scene of an accident in our county because one of the reporters who was there apparently printed what The Mr. called graphic, gorey details about the accident. (I haven't read the story yet, so I don't know if that's true.)

That’s freedom of the press, I said.

And here’s where it gets ugly. You see, The Mr. and I are pretty much on polar opposite sides when it comes to the media. As a member of said industry, I have my fairly set in stone ideals on how things should be. Sure, I get completely disgusted with a lot of the crap that journalists do to get the story or to make someone cry, but it’s my right to turn off the TV or put down the newspaper (I refuse to watch Nancy Grace, Ann Curry and shows like Dateline and 48 Hours; they literally make me want to vomit). The Mr. just thinks that these people should be kicked in the pants and all their First Amendment rights revoked. He watches FoxNews and listens to Glen Beck.

But think about the family, he said.

The family doesn’t have to read the paper, I retorted. What if no news channels or newspapers or magazines reported anything about 9/11. That was gorey and graphic.

Yeah, but you didn’t see any of the gore, he said.

I watched people jumping out of a 110-story building to their deaths. I heard the sounds of people falling on the roof of the lobby of those buildings, I said referring to a documentary I watched.

But you didn’t see it.

Doesn’t matter. Don’t you think I can imagine what happened?

It’s different. It was national.

So what?!

What if it was one of your family members, he shot back.

No, I wouldn’t want something graphic printed about someone in my family, but they have a right to print the facts, I argued.

Well, they aren’t allowed on the scene anymore.

That’s fine. They don’t have to be allowed there, but they still have the right to print the facts.

Whatever, let’s just drop it.

Wow, I thought, an early concession. Right on! I’m getting better. Usually I’m the one who gives in because I get to the point where I don't even want to talk to him about what's for dinner.

And then it hit me. This one had become personal. He didn’t see a Jane Doe this time. He didn’t see just another accident victim. He saw me.


At 2:20 PM, Blogger Lyrehca said...

Hmm. Hard to believe that no reporters are going to be allowed on the scene of an accident. I can see reporters from your local media area filing Freedom of Information Act letters and finding out information from unofficial sources, instead of the fire chief, and therefore still getting the story out there.

Sure, of course there's a question of common decency, but I'm with you. The family doesn't have to read the paper or watch the news coverage of a personal tragedy, but that doesn't mean the rest of the public isn't going to want to know what happened, and the press isn't going to want to report it.

At 3:51 PM, Blogger Michko said...

Exactly. Exactly. Exactly. I didn't want to argue the point with him about reporters not being allowed there because they actually do have a right to be there, but how close they can get, etc. can certainly be restricted. We basically can't talk about media stuff because it inevitably leads to a rather heated discussion and I could see fairly quickly that he wasn't interested in doing that.


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