It was certainly an odd, awful day. I happened to be in downtown Chicago, at Northwestern Memorial Hospital taking my dad for a couple of check-ups following his surgery last week. Going down to get the car, I heard the news about Boston, and the local Chicago follow-up mentioned a big CTA subway fire, and it wasn't clear from the report where it was just an electrical fire or what. And then a few minutes later, sirens began screaming through the area. It was impossible to know if they were going to the CTA fire, or if it was to some other problem, or if it was simply something coming to the hospital. I still don't know, though I don't think it was hospital-related.
I turned the news off on the ride home, because I thought the last thing my 91-year-old dad, coming downstairs from cardiology appointments, needed to hear. He did catch up with the news quite a bit later, though, when he got back to his room at the Care Center of his residence.
It's the "quite a bit later" that gnawed. I fully understand the massive media coverage -- how could one not? But at a certain point, after an hour or two, you get the story, and there's nothing new to report. All you end up with is repeating and repeating the horror and playing right into the hands of people whose only purpose is to get attention for causing horror. When there's news to report, report it. Other than that, hysteria feeds hysteria.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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