Just when you think network news can’t get any worse, ratings rears its ugly head and forces reporters to do things you never thought possible outside of a lawsuit. This time, the ne’er-do-well culprit is the UK’s Sky News (a Rupert Murdoch joint).
Tragically, the victim is, again, Malaysia Airlines.
With MH370, the flight seemed to vanish into the ether, like all those horror stories about the Bermuda Triangle. And just when the airliner had that atrocious “breaking news” down to a minimum, the unthinkable happened over the Ukrainian coast as MH17 was shot down…presumably by separatists in the region.
And then Sky News went rummaging through the luggage of the dead passengers on live television.
In the report from Sky News’ Colin Brazier, viewers can practically hear the internal ethics debate as he says, “I probably shouldn’t be doing this” before doing the very thing he knows he shouldn’t be doing.
— LFC Street (@_Est_1980_) July 20, 2014
In case you are fuming to the point where your glasses are fogging, that’s a reporter going through the luggage of someone who died in a plane crash/terrorist attack/alleged accident only days before.
Sky News caught a little bad PR via social media, which prompted the following apology:
“Today whilst presenting from the site of the MH17 air crash Colin Brazier reflected on the human tragedy of the event and showed audiences the content of one of the victims’ bags. Colin immediately recognised that this was inappropriate and said so on air. Both Colin and Sky News apologise profusely for any offence caused.”
Moral of the Story: Whenever you second guess yourself on live TV, go with your gut. It’s usually right.