I’m not sure if it is because I am just overwhelmed by the magnitude of news available, or if I have an inherent distrust of the media based upon my past profession and being burned a couple of times. I have become someone who has no patience to sit through an entire newscast, or usually even read the entire front section of the newspaper. There is so much stuff that I find is just crap and am amazed that anyone considers news. There is also just so much stuff that is just incredible, incredibly sad and tragic and just people treating others in ways that sicken and amaze me.
With the tragedy at Fort Hood yesterday, I found myself scanning headlines, trying to get what were actually facts about the case. Of course, only hours after the shooting occurred, they were reporting that the “main” shooter had been killed and that two others involved had been arrested. Of course, in the cold light of day it turns out the shooter had not been killed, the two that were allegedly arrested had been released, and another “person of interest” was being sought. Typical, the news in their hurry to beat every other news organization rushes with “facts” that turn out to be wrong.
I listen to a reporter, a famous-major-network-reporter ask Gibbs, (paraphrased) “so what is the President doing (regarding the shooting at Fort Hood)?” Gibbs replies, “He has spoken to Scty. Of Def. Gates, he has spoken to the commander of the base at Fort Hood, he has spoken to the head of homeland security and he has offered any resources the federal government can provide to assist in the investigation …” The reporter then asks, “But what is he doing? Anything proactive?”
At this point, I’m ready to throw something at my computer, but I need it to be able to write my book so I hold back. What in the world does this guy think the President should be “doing?” He is not in Texas, nor should he be. He is not an investigator, nor should he be. There are people investigating, there are people providing support, counseling and anything else needed to the affected service members and their families. The president is being briefed and is staying aware of the developments, as he should, and is offering the assistance and support of the federal government, just as he should.
Then the questioning turns to the shooter himself when another famous-major-network-reporter asks, “So is the President concerned that this will cause an issue about Muslim’s in America?” Gibbs looks a little confused almost. He tells the reporters “we do not want to get ahead of the investigation.” The reporter quickly jumps back in, “what do you mean ahead of the investigation, he is a Muslim, he attends a mosque; that is already known.”
I’m screaming at my computer at this point. Thank goodness, someone (the President) is not jumping ahead of the investigation, he is not assuming as the reporters seem to be that the motive for this rampage was the shooter’s religious or political beliefs. Who knows, that may or may not turn out to be the case but to even ask such a question at this point is ludicrous. And really, the alleged suspect is a Major in the United States Army, you don’t get to that rank by being obviously unbalanced or without a lot of people looking at your mental stability. The shooting happened yesterday! I can tell you from experience having been a criminal investigator, rarely are investigations of any type completed that quickly.
Next, a reporter wanted to know if the President was going to do something about the mental health treatment service members receive based upon the incident at Fort Hood. I think the neighbors can probably hear me screaming now … TODAY? ARE YOU AN IDIOT? SHOULD HE GO CALL EACH SERVICE MEMBER CURRENTLY SERVING IN ANY BRANCH PERSONALLY, RIGHT NOW? Sorry, but I am a little fired up at this point.
The questions went on, about all the different subjects but much in the same manner, trying to get Gibbs to say … well I don’t know what they wanted Gibbs to say. I do understand, journalism, both television and print is a very competitive business and there is a hunger for 24/7 news. They are all looking for that perfect 15-second sound bite.