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September 16, 2002

Saw it off and push it out to sea Comprehensive Miami Herald overview of live TV-news coverage of the Florida terrorists who weren’t:
Among the inaccurate reports:

• Several stations reported that a woman in Georgia told police three Middle Easterners were coming to Miami to blow something up. (That’s not what she said.)

• Several also said cops spotted the men after they roared past a tollbooth on I-75. (One car rolled by at a normal rate of speed; the other stopped and paid the tolls for both.)

• The cops used explosives to detonate a suspicious knapsack found in one car. (They didn’t.) Channel 7 reported that explosive ”triggers” were found in one of the cars. (There were no ”triggers” or anything else to do with explosives.)

• Channel 7 also reported that cops were searching for a third car. (They weren’t.)

[…] The most egregious offender was WSVN 7, where it sounded like the staff had to hold anchors Christine Cruz and Tom Haynes back from storming onto the causeway and personally administering lethal injections to the three detained men they’d already tried and convicted.

(Via the always-worthwhile Daily Kos.) [07:47 PM]
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Comments on Saw it off and push it out to sea:

Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2002, 08:17 PM:

brainlug.org has a hilarious take on how the initial tip came to be:


Mary Kay Kare ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2002, 10:12 PM:

I'll second what the MH says about it not just being local news. On Sept. 11, 2001, we had the tv on all day as I bounced between it and the computer. And on most of the next day. But by the day after that I couldn't help noticing that they were reporting any frantic rumor they could get hold of and then, 3 hours later, retracting that and reporting a new frantic rumor. Repeat ad infinitum. I turned it off and it stayed turned off for a good long time. And all day Sept 11, 2002 as well.


Scott Janssens ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2002, 02:00 AM:

About the knapsack being blown up, I saw aerial footage on CNN of something blowing up on the street behind one of the cars. What was that?

Andrea Harris ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2002, 02:23 AM:

I am having trouble understanding the title of your post. I'm not really sure what your problem with Florida is. After all, the Miami Herald is published in Miami, which the last time I checked was still in Florida. So are you mad that they reported on the other news media organs in the area? I don't get it. And they weren't "Florida" terrorists: they were overheard saying whatever in Atlanta, right? They were from (or at least going to school in) the Dominican Republic, I believe, which far from being part of Florida is an independent country, on an island. Unless you live in Florida too, you weren't the one who got to contemplate the possibility of a terrorist attack not three hours from where you live (or perhaps closer). And the practice of hysterical reportage is hardly a local phenomenon. But I apologize. I guess I'm losing my sense of humor.

Here's a note for future reference: WSVN, channel 7, is known as "Bloody Seven." It's reputation for closeups of the body and other blood 'n' guts broadcasting methods is notorious, as is the nearly-always hysterical tone of its news coverage on anything, including the weather. This has gone on for years; the hilarious live on-camera breakdown of reporter Rick Sanchez during and after Hurrican Andrew back in 1992 is an especially fond memory [/sarcasm]. The fact that the WSVN reporters went apeshit at the "terrorist" debacle is nothing new, and making fun of the station is an old pastime at the Herald. (Dave Barry and Carl Hiaasen have contributed much to the Wacky Channel 7 genre.) It's the area's Fox-owned station, by the way. Make of that what you will.

Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2002, 08:27 AM:

Following up on Andrea: I was wondering if they were the Fox affiliate. I think a major part of local news exaggeration is that the locals hope they'll be picked up by the cable news channels and get their chance at stardom. (I'd think Fox and NBC affiliates would be worse than ABC and CBS affiliates)

I'm waiting for Fox News Channel to start using the terror alert color as a major element in their anchor wardrobes. I'm imagining Sean Hannity dressing like "Joe" from Blue's Clues.

(Sorry if this post repeats. I'm using OS X)

Avram ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2002, 08:54 PM:

Unless you live in Florida too, you weren't the one who got to contemplate the possibility of a terrorist attack not three hours from where you live (or perhaps closer).

That's right. Patrick lives safe right here in NYC, and spent a good chunk of last September (like I did) commuting every day past a column of smoke rising out of the Financial District, so it's not like he's ever had cause to contemplate the possibility of a terrorist attack near him.

tomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2002, 03:53 PM:

an update to your second point. Video footage from the tollbooth shows that both cars stopped and paid the toll.