Friday, June 20, 2008

MSNBC Transfixed, Befuddled By Man In Tree

Leading out the day today, Sommer noted that "Montgomery County Fire and Rescue units rescued a tree cutter from a tree in Silver Spring this afternoon." And, indeed, twas true! I know, because I watched this afternoon as MSNBC broadcast the most interminable, crazy-ass broadcast of the event.

Even though the two presidential candidates were yelling at one another about campaign finance and there were far more people in far direr straits across the midwest today, MSNBC broke into their coverage to send viewers out to Silver Spring for live coverage of this tree rescue. Now, there's nothing wrong with that, the local NBC News gave the story a few grafs today, as they should. But compare that to MSNBC's decision to lock in on the story, recite the relevant details in about a minute, and then go bang on to the commercial break nearly ten minutes later.

Everyone in the studio must have gone on a smoke-break right then as well, because Chris Jansing and Contessa Brewer were forced to ad lib at length, seemingly unassisted, as MSNBC's cameras stared at the scene as if we were witnessing some goddamned witchcraft being performed. The whole segment was pretty hilarious. We captured the first two and a half minutes of it here, and I added some pithy fun facts that viewers learned as Jansing and Brewer struggled to ward off the dead air. Still I'd be remiss if I didn't point out some of the other things I learned from MSNBC today:

  • How do rescuers get cats down from trees? "You just grab the cat."

  • Believe it or not, it is not advisable to cut trees so that they land directly on houses.

  • Rescues taking place up a tree are difficult, as anyone who has "watched a few episodes of ER" would know. You know. Because of all the episodes from that show that featured rescues. Rescues from trees. In downtown Chicago.

  • It's important that the rescuers subject the injured party to only a "minimal amount of movement." Apart, perhaps, from the "movement" required to bring the man from the "tree" to the "ground."
Anyway, that's just a crack news division Steve Capus is running.

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