inside the echo chamber

It’s a little ironic that I work for a television news company, since under normal circumstances I go out of my way to avoid ever watching TV newscasts. Chalk it up to watching “Max Headroom” and “Network” at an impressionable age: the audiovisual mannerisms that are standard to the form just strike me as unbearably stupid and annoying at the best of times, and these are not the best of times.

But work in the industry I do, and ever since we moved into our newer, smaller office space, I’m less than a dozen feet away from the video wall: a dozen or so assorted monitors carrying feeds from each of the major networks, cnn, msnbc and handful of satellite feeds. I wear headphones and listen to antisocial music when I can, but I also have to listen and talk to to my coworkers, so often I just have to surrender to the incoming noise from the wall.

Sometimes, in a morbid way, this gets interesting.

Any story that hangs around long enough to warrant a daily (or better) update ends up getting its own snappy tagline/title created for it. Obviously right now the heavy-rotation winner is Iraq, and over the past few days I think I’ve heard just about every possible variation on the tag:

  • Confronting Iraq

  • Countdown: Iraq

  • Crisis: Iraq

  • Iraq: Confrontation in the Middle East

  • Iraq: We are so totally gonna kick Saddam’s ass.

Okay, the last one may have been my brain playing tricks on me. It’s a little hard to tell sometimes when the surreality is so strong in the “normal” channels.

It’s not really an original or particularly insightful idea to point out that the media is a willing participant in selling the inevitability of this war to a naturally skeptical public, so let’s just ride the weird for a minute: Has your favorite news source come up with a zippy slogan for this war-to-be? Can you think of a funnier one? It’s your voices versus the wall for control of my brain. Your duty is clear.

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