KOMO executive producer Travis Mayfield takes an interesting look at media coverage of the 5.9 magnitude earthquake that shook up the east coast yesterday on the station’s website. Mayfield, who says “we have those all the time here on the west coast,” writes about the news coverage he listened to on way to work:
First we heard about the tiny crack that has shuttered the Washington Monument despite the fact that said crack may have been there for decades with no one noticing or caring. Then we were ‘treated’ to a second reporter mourning the damage at the venerable National Cathedral (I had to check online when I got into work to ensure the building hadn’t been flattened like a pancake the way people were moaning. It hadn’t been). And finally we went live to the epicenter of the quake where school girls were crying and some yokel told the nation how her husband’s matchbox car collection was now scattered “across the house.”
Mayfield goes on to say that a story about oceanside towns in Japan still dealing with flooded ports after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake there in March — “now that is an earthquake and that is a news story,” he writes — was squeezed in behind “a hairline crack in a monument and scattered toys.” The media is biased, Mayfield concludes, but not in the traditional way:
People have long complained about bias in the media in this country. All my career my answers has been the same. The national media is indeed biased in this country. But they aren’t collectively right or left wing in their bias, they are bias[ed] because they are lazy. They cover stories that happen to them. They highlight events that happen on the street in front of their studios. If it happens in NYC or DC it is news, but if it happens in Seattle, Minneapolis or Denver the rivers better be clogged with dead bodies are they won’t lif[t] an eyebrow.