It’s me, your local TV News çameraman - a small but very important part of "The Media". You know, that constitutionally protected entity so many of you were blaming for stirring up panic over that latest hoax: the Coronavirus. What was that, last weekend? Now it seems even our President is buying into the hoax, er, virus. Crazy, huh? It’s almost as if a global pandemic was closing in on every corner of our country. You’d think that kind of thing would have made the papers…
Anyhoo, hope you’re taking the proper precautions to keep your family as as safe as possible. All those suits at the podium say the smartest thing to do is to just stay home, maybe monitor a current events broadcast for helpful information. Me, I wouldn’t know. See, while you’re sheltering in place and cursing your least favorite news anchor, I’ll be crisscrossing the region, interviewing experts, FaceTiming victims, shooting video of hopefully empty streets. Crazy as it sounds, I’m no longer allowed in my own newsroom. Instead, I spend my days scrunched in a cramped company car, darting this way and that until I pull over and make my many deadlines through a cranky, overworked laptop.
I’ve covered a lot in my career. Hurricanes, homicides, forest fires, floods and almost everything in between. I’ve floated through a sea of dead cattle, backpedaled in front of guilty Senators and been to more murder scenes that I can possibly ever remember. But I’ve never seen anything like the Coronavirus. And before it’s over, I’ll see it up close. As much as my station tries to protect me, sticking my lens into other people’s business is kinda what I do. It’s what I’ve always done.
See, I believe it matters.
I believe our nation’s forefathers understood the importance of an independent press so fervently they included it in the FIRST amendment to our Constitution. I believe that Democracy does indeed die in darkness, that no matter what plague envelops our land, our great citizens won’t suffer from too much exposure to the truth. Ahhh, the truth. Never before has it been so slippery, so slight, so subjective. One person’s birthright is another’s abomination, depending on which channel you happen to land on. Pity, that.
But you’re smart. You’ll figure it out. Chances are you’ll have time to mull it over as you huddle with your family and watch your broadcast of choice. Me, I’ll be out in the thickofit. There’s an old journalism saying “News doesn’t happen in the newsroom”. Neither does it go down in my den. No, to tell what may turn out to be the biggest story of anyone’s career, I’ll have to travel to places I really don’t wanna go. But that’s my job, dare I say, my calling. I’m cool with that and I really don’t care if you are. Just do me one favor: In the coming weeks, as information becomes vital, do take care and make sure you’re not getting any virus-survival tips from some enemy of the American people.
That'd just be embarrassing.