“Are you the one who flashed the cheesy grin at my cameraman as you walked by?” the TV reporter asked.
“Yes,” I replied flatly, sensing trouble.
“Don’t do that. You ruined my shot.”
“Sorry,” I replied.
But I wasn’t sorry at all. In the news business, there were real reporters like me — inquisitors who dressed like slobs, asked a lot of questions and tried to make sense of events — and there were talking heads, the good-looking, well-dressed hacks with helmet hair who stole their stories from us and condensed them into virtually meaningless 10-second sound bites designed to elicit oohs and aahs from the noobs who watched the nightly news. Even they described themselves as media whores.
I had little to no respect for this schmo, and only apologized because my mother raised me right.
We were both at the courthouse to cover the trial of a corrupt city councilman, a story I’d broken months earlier by carefully cultivating contacts in the police department and city manager’s office. Filing into the courtroom with the lawyers, councilman’s family and the ever-present crowd of broken-down riff-raff who prop up the halls of justice, I couldn’t resist grinning at the cameraman, who was trying to videotape something — anything, really — that might look interesting on television.
Later that night, I watched the broadcast to see how the station covered the story. It didn’t. Substituted it with a story about a man who built a wheelchair for his crippled dog instead.
Highly visual, and cute. Even I almost cracked a smile, an act that makes me feel like my face is about to fall off.
Look, if information is what you want, read a magazine or newspaper. If it’s puppies and froth, just plaster a cheesy smile on your mug and watch the animatrons on Channel 4.
Like an idiot, I agreed to participate in this ridiculous 28-day writing competition hosted by Nicky and Mike over at We Work For Cheese. I hate them for it. And myself even more. To see the drivel the other participants wrote for today’s theme, click here. If the link isn’t live yet, it’s because I had to post when I was awake, and before it was up. I blame Nicky for this, just as I’m inclined to blame her for everything that’s wrong in my life.