RANDOM ACTS OF CHAOS DOMINATE LOCAL NEWS; ACCOUNTABILITY SCARCE
(PITTSBURGH, PA) - June 13, 2005 -A reporter from WPXI (Channel 11), questioned at the completion of a live report about a suspect accused of a grisly attack, could not explain why television news is saturated with violent content.
"I felt dirty just watching that newscast," said NEWSBREAKER Ted Michaels, who was positioned to appear in a live shot in an empty parking down the street from the station. The broadcaster's relentless coverage of personal tragedy and loss with little connection to any larger social context forced Michaels to scrap the bust in favor of a shower.
Video of the newscast and follow up interview are available at http://www.newsbreakers.org/video.htm.
Before leaving the scene, Michaels did ask the on-scene reporter why the station focuses so many resources on murder and mayhem.
"I don't know," said the reporter before refusing to answer anymore of Michael's questions.
The National Television Violence Study put out in 1996 by the research organization Mediascope found that exposure to TV news violence can increase the likelihood of "learning aggressive attitudes and behaviors; emotional desensitization toward real world violence; and increased fear of being victimized by violence, resulting in self-protective behaviors and mistrust of others."
Details about the report are available at http://www.mediascope.org/pubs/index.htm#briefs.
NEWSBREAKERS is a nonpartisan media watchdog group. It offers comment and critique on the role of television news in informing the public. The group relies on parody and non-traditional media interventions and transformations.
The group is currently planning future events.