Outside my usual bailiwick, but I’m compelled to write. And if I need a pretext, well, Benen is a Vermonter.
Today, dozens of reporters tramped through the apartment of the alleged San Bernardino shooters. Some of them, including MSNBC and CNN, went live as their reporters rummaged through the belongings of the dead couple, brandishing pictures of unnamed people and pieces of legal identification before the cameras.
The spectacle revealed nothing. It was, as the Washington Post put it, “life-sucking.” It was despicable. It was a sign that journalistic ethics have been completely subsumed by the endless hunger for ratings.
The authorities say they have completed their investigation of the apartment. I find that hard to believe. What I do know is that if they ever want to go back in there, they won’t be able to use anything they find as evidence. The whole scene is irretrievably tainted.
And people think bloggers have no standards. Today, I prefer my profession to journalism.
Even the news anchors seemed to be choking back their revulsion. CNN’s Anderson Cooper called it “bizarre,” and a CNN security analyst spoke about compromising a crime scene. MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell begged reporter Kerry Sanders not to show pictures or ID’s on the air.
The networks seemed to realize what a ghoulish clusterfuck they’d just taken part in. MSNBC later issued a very tepid semi-apology. CNN boasted that it had not showed pictures or IDs, which is just the worst of many offenses.
After getting home this evening, I turned on Rachel Maddow to see what she would have to say about it.