Friday, July 27, 2007


In a tragic accident today, two television news helicopters crashed while covering a crime in progress. Four people were killed in what has become the norm for news coverage. You cannot go too many days without seeing some car chase on the news. Time and again you get the view from the news helicopter of the car running away from the police. At times this coverage will go for hours. Why do the stations carry the coverage? Ratings! The news business like any other, is competitive, and they do what needs to be done to be successful. Obviously the stations believe that this is good for ratings, or they would not carry it as often as they do.

The larger question becomes why is it so appealing. Why do the viewers, you and I, enjoy watching these crime in progress? Why do so many stay riveted to their televisions watching the car chase, knowing inevitably the criminals will get caught? I believe it taps into our voyeuristic desires. We live in a day and age where we can watch anyone do anything, and everyone do everything. And apparently it is an insatiable appetite, or there would not be so many reality shows.

From used car lots, to tattoo parlors, to funeral homes, to parents with a lot of kids, to dysfunctional celebrity families, to people who need to lose weight, you can watch it all. And people are, as reality television is as hot as ever. But is that a good thing? When is it enough? How far do we go as a culture? While some would make the case that today was simply an accident that happened in the process of covering a legitimate news event, I believe there is more involved.

Do we need to see the car chase? Do we need to see the crime and the catching of the criminal? What is helpful or good about our viewing this? Some might say that seeing it discourages others, because the criminals always get caught. While maybe that has happened, you and I know that this is not the case. Four people died today needlessly, because they were trying to get coverage that no one needed to see. That is the sad truth. All of us should take a hard look at our viewing habits. What we like to watch, what we spend our time viewing.

If this tragedy causes some people to re-evaluate their viewing habits, to take stock of what they watch and why it is that they watch it. If this tragedy causes some people to consider their viewing choices in light of Gods Word in which the Psalmist committed to put no unworthy shameful thing before his eyes, then maybe, just maybe these deaths were not in vain!

blog you later,
pastor tom