You know, it's almost like they don't care about credibility. As long as local TV news is giving some poor soul out there in TV-land a flimsy reason to sit home and hug his or her guns in fear, local news stations seem perfectly happy. Besides, when twaddle somebody saw on Facebook and reported like actual news is shared thousands of times via social media, what's the point of hiring professionals who believe in old fashioned things like research and fact checking
? Like this, for example...
Some back story: A little over a week ago — and in the absence of any credible evidence — WREG-TV reported
that nefarious Halloween pranksters might try to sneak candy-colored ecstasy pills into the plastic pumpkin buckets of innocent little trick-or-treaters, hooking them on dope for life. Or something like that. Although numerous online commenters (and Fly on the Wall
) pointed out the fact that this story was 100% fiction, no attempt was made to allay the fears these kinds of stories foster. And now, instead of taking the opportunity to correct their competitor's error, and make sure Memphians had the best information available, Fox-13 has run the exact same, fear-mongering story
I could use this Halloween hoax as a perfect example of how local news over-reports crime, and other stories with significant fear factor. But instead of doing that I'm going to ask readers to do something I'd normally never, ever, ever ask them to do: Think about the children.
I know that hackneyed plea for juvenile consideration is usually a rosy-cheeked mask fronting some crazy adult agenda. But this time, think about the children of commenters who posted things like this...
And even this poor confused commenter who seemed to recognize that the news was probably bullshit, but shared it anyway because... the usual bullshit.
The thing about this kind of information: It spreads faster and farther than an unsexy, plain Joe correction about drug dealers who don't
want to fill kids' candy sacks with hundreds of dollars worth of the good shit, ever could. Once the seed of myth is planted, it lives forever. And it grows. And a lot of poor kids will have one less thing to look forward to as a result. Not because the world is a more dangerous place, but because it's a stupider place.
So, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD AND ALL THAT'S HOLY, please share this story. It could save a child— from "trunk-a-treating."