Heck yes local media overreacted to the Mall St. Matthews mess. Suggesting otherwise is a waste of time and brain cells. We haven’t seen anything this crazy since the days of Julie Tam and her blue glove. Let’s go down the local media rabbit hole with another rant.
Most of it started with WDRB’s Toni Konz and her pre-teen JCPS following on Twitter. There’s no denying Konz has provided tremendous coverage of many educational issues through the years. While at our dying local newspaper and at Bill Lamb’s Fear-Based Tea (Key?) Party. Her work’s usually solid (minus her intentional misreporting on the ousted Commissioner of Education). But…
She started hyping things up, retweeting blips, siding with whatever police told her. I’ve refrained from criticizing her personally but enough is enough. This woman is on television and has thousands of school kids hanging on her every word. Like it or not, she has a tremendous responsibility that she either doesn’t recognize or doesn’t want to acknowledge. Her involvement is both alarmist and potentially dangerous. Blindly reporting what police say, without any verification, while at the same time hyping things up herself is inexcusable for someone in such a prominent position.
This is the most glaring, sums everything from Konz/WDRB/local teevee up quite well:
Yeah, let’s arrest a couple hundred kids for loitering. That’s the ticket. It wouldn’t have escalated the situation or caused potential danger for police and young kids at all. (That’s sarcasm, for the elderly set reading this)
Much like the pieces about how JCPS is a terrible hell pit filled with awful, killer, devil, violent students (only slightly exaggerating) and 99.99% of all teachers fear for their lives? This, too, was dumb as hell.
When this reporter got egg on her face after the hype, she started acting as if mall management is solely at fault, asking questions about how much the incident cost police in overtime. Because… what? Sure. Okay. Teevee people had nothing to do with the freak out.
Not just Konz, though. She doesn’t deserve all the blame. While her reactionary, paranoid Twitter panic most certainly fanned the flames, Louisville teevee people are the worst when it comes to senseless hype. From breathless alarm over snow flurries to meltdowns about the failed Lynn’s Paradise Cafe, it’s what we’ve all come to expect. It’s why we can’t have nice things here in Compassionate Possibility City. It’s part of the reason racist mouthbreathers flock to local teevee sites to spew hatred by the thousands. Ignorance feeds on ignorance. It’s why so many are distrustful of media in general.
Reality is kids are no worse now than they were 20 years ago. People need to get a damn grip. There is no teenage misbehavior epidemic that’s new or different than in the 1990s. Sure, the internet exists to drum things up but good grief at the Konz-led overreaction.
Absentee parenting is not a new thing. Maybe parents have to spend more time working now to put food on the table. That’s true. But it’s not too different than any other period of time in the past couple decades.
It’s like The Louisville Purge: Part 2. So. Dumb. Lowest common denominator, scraping the barrel, stereotypical barefoot Kentuckian caricature dumb.
There’s a problem when the city’s most prominent and relied upon education reporter is involved in something like this. It’s unfortunate, it’s whatever disappointing word you want it to be. Sadly, it’s a shining example of what we’ve come to expect. We’re all numb to it, indifferent. Our lovely little city’s been in this perpetual cycle of dumb crap since the Abramson Era kicked off and there’s apparently no limit to the levels of fear-hype we can reach.
P.S. Kudos to the police for handling the situation, busing kids quickly away, not escalating to the point of danger. Even if they intentionally give misinformation to gullible media.
UPDATE: Seems WDRB’s resident white flight freaker outer, John David Dyche, is also in another panic. A panic built in part on the hype spread by Konz the past few months.
NOTE: Yes, I say some horrible crap on Twitter. Usually to get a reaction. But I’m also purposefully not on television, avoided it like the plague when we had a WBKI contract, and eschew the spotlight. Also don’t have ten thousand JCPS student following me for school weather closing updates.