You should be.
But indulge me as I jump in to this from an entirely different perspective. In fact, Carlina and all the mama drama that has become her story is simply the springboard for my latest double-reverse dive in to the waters of media criticism. Yesterday morning, I caught an interview with Carlina’s biological mother, Joy White (pictured above), on NBC’s “Today” show. Prior to this, I was deliberately hazy on the details of this real-life soap opera. All I knew was a baby had been kidnapped at a Harlem hospital and, fast forward 23 years, she has been reunited with her biological parents.
It seemed to be a bittersweet happy ending to a story that really wasn’t any of my business, and I was trying to keep it that way, but with CNNon commercial break, I begrudgingly suffered through the interview, as I waited for the latest on Egypt.
In doing so, I learned more of the specifics and my heart went out to the various parties that have been on this emotional seesaw. Despite the tug on my heartstrings, I found myself growing more and more annoyed as I watched: This display was yet another confirmation that television news, particularly network morning shows, have turned human pain and despair into big ratings. Consider it tragic entertainment, if you will.
Thank God for NPR and the geriatric news giants on “60 Minutes.” Without institutions and shows like these, we would all be stranded in a desert of exploitive news, featuring the gut-wrenching misfortune of people, who are often poor and desperate.
It feels like an endless procession of victims and survivors that are are trotted out before us to captivate our attention, but more importantly, help sell the products that their advertisers are hawking. Money talks, responsible journalism walks (off the deep end) far too often.
Look no further than what the media did to Ted Williams, the Ohio homeless man with the golden voice. It was the classic bait and switch: They built him up and tore him down in a matter of days.