News or Ratings Whores (You make the call)
October 19, 2001 7:50 AM   Subscribe

News or Ratings Whores (You make the call) Wartime definitions of free speach and news-worthiness are and should be different than in peacetime, no? So then, on a relatively slow newsday like today (thus far anyhow) when ABC News runs a supposedly sci-tech feature, snarkily entitled Meet the Electronic Equivalent of an Atomic Weapon, it makes one wonder why editors let articles like this fly.

Enlighten me if I'm missing some subtle purpose, but is there any other reason for this article other than fear mongering and directing the country's enemies to promising tactical weaponry if they haven't already thought of it?
posted by BentPenguin (15 comments total)

Is someone free to change "free speach" to "free speech"? And is "Newsday" now slow to print?
posted by SEWilco at 7:56 AM on October 19, 2001

I tend to agree with the poster (barring his problems with the English language). The only reason they print such stories is for monetary gain.

Read non-profit papers, or listen to NPR. although sometimes biased towards the liberal side, at least they have high quality reporters and don't whore themselves out.

Not to mention the point about giving the terrorists ideas.

It's nearly as bad as the to-the-minute coverage on CNN of Desert Storm. We might as well have been talking on the phone to them telling them where we're going to attack next.
posted by presto at 8:32 AM on October 19, 2001

We'd better not tell them terrorists that they can buy semiautomatic guns fer cheep here in America. Good thing we folk can buy 'em too... but Goll-damm them limits on the number o' guns we can buy every month. I needs a Desert Eagle and a Glock right now! Not tomorrow, not next month, I want it now before's I ain't angry no mo.

We'd better not let them A-rabs know abouts our huge stockpiles of personal wepons, cause they'd be usin em fer killin' folks, which ain't their true usage. We hardworking, honest, responsible Americans use em to shoot tin cans off fence posts an' kill us some deers and ducks and whatnot.

And for the love of pete, nobody tell them that our nucular reactors is vulnrble to attack cause their so 'dangrous' to begin with. They'd just go booom! if anything was wrongs with em... That would be super cool, but it'd probbly turn out my power so I couldnt play muh Playstation.
posted by Hammerikaner at 8:32 AM on October 19, 2001

"And for the love of pete, nobody tell them that our nucular reactors is vulnrble to attack cause their so 'dangrous' to begin with." i relize your being cynical(COOL) but them thar reactors are strong as anything, can take a direct hit from a 757 loaded with t-n-t.
posted by newnameintown at 8:36 AM on October 19, 2001

Ratings whores, no doubt. This isn't really news: Beyond2000 had a story about this in january. And everybody was shorting out surveillance bots in Deus Ex with EMP grenades last year. Leave it to ABC to regurgitate it during wartime with an apocolyptic spin.

SEWilco: I misspelled a word in the above post just for you. Care to point out which one?
posted by andnbsp at 8:36 AM on October 19, 2001

Hrm, one of the problems is this isn't really news because EMP devices have been talked about for a while now. The cat has been out of the bag and most of the works cited in the e-bomb paper come directly from the IEEE conferences.

So the fear-mongering is a valid complaint. On the other hand, yelling that articles that simply report on 12 year old ideas is giving information to terrorists is another form of fearmongering. What next? Complaining about Star Trek because we've been bullshitting about energy and particle beam weapons since the laser was invented?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:49 AM on October 19, 2001

Hold on folks, these guys are professional terrorists funded to the the tune of hundreds of millions on dollars. Do you really think they're going to learn much from a page on ABC? You think they haven't heard of EMP?

More to the point, you're just noticing now that commerical news organisations write stories to make money?
posted by flimjam at 8:49 AM on October 19, 2001

"putt knot yore trussed in spill chequers" for those with too much time on their hands will check it for you, and sprout wood in the process.
posted by BentPenguin at 8:50 AM on October 19, 2001

Giving the terrorists ideas? They hijacked planes with box cutters, and might have sent anthrax in envelops. While they are crafty, I can't see how they're going to get an EMP device.
And how many news stories have you read recently weren't sensationalistic, and just printed for the money?
posted by Doug at 8:51 AM on October 19, 2001

I figure they picked up the story from this MeFi thread based on an article in Popular Mechanics.

Back then, it only cost $400 to build. I guess inflation is rearing its ugly head in the cheap weapon business.
posted by Geo at 10:19 AM on October 19, 2001

Oops. Clicked wrong. The original MeFi thread was here.. Sorry.
posted by Geo at 10:38 AM on October 19, 2001

I just think it's really funny that the United States has a "Cyberspace Security Advisor". What the hell is that? You think they could come up with a better name, instead of some half-assed hackneyed slang from the early 90's.
posted by SweetJesus at 11:14 AM on October 19, 2001

"free speach" is an intentional misspelling. See
posted by kurumi at 11:28 AM on October 19, 2001

oh, so "speach" is one of those "ell-three-three-tee" things?

seriously - there's nothing that the terrorists can get from the news that they can't get elsewhere --- for example, here on this site

by the way, why do people act as if the terrorists are somewhere "else"?

they're right "here" on the internet with the rest of us
they're probably participating in these discussions, if not here then on other sites like it
posted by yesster at 12:16 PM on October 19, 2001

Everybody on the lookout for people with *shifty eyes*

If they've got shifty eyes, that's how you know they're evil.
posted by andnbsp at 12:31 PM on October 19, 2001

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