I was trying to get some work done yesterday afternoon, but there was this business jet with a stuck landing gear, circling and circling over Portland,Oregon, and the cable networks were all over it, and (arrgh) there was no way to turn it off.
Even when I reached for the remote control, I reached for the remote control againfive minutes later. Just to check. It went on for two hours.
Rest assured: most of the people I know who put this stuff on the air (not all, but most) cringe just as much as you do at the spectacle, even when there’s very unsensational news involved (the CEO of Nike was on the plane). But there’s almost no fighting it. Cable networks may talk and talk and talk while the plane burns off fuel…but the instant they break away, viewers scurry to other channels for the latest on that plane.
In the end, the Nike jet made such a picture-perfect landing that my friend Hari Sreenivasan, who was anchoring ABC News Now at the time, asked to make sure we were showing the right plane. We all watch, waiting for the crash, but perhaps enjoying the tension that will be relieved when everyone is all right.
In the mess on my desk, while all this played out, was a piece of copy about the latest in the video-on-demand wars. TiVo, not to be left out, is making it possible for you to save aprogram and download it into a video iPod. For free. Last week everyone thought a dollar was a bargain.
This all gets deliciously dangerous. Nobody has any idea what to charge for on-demand programming. Nobody knows what people will watch. Would you pay to see a business jet in trouble…four hours ago?
I have no idea. Someone please tell me!
Just wanted you to know that the FBI is not after you. They put out a press release late yesterday warning of a new phishing scam. “These scam e-mails tell the recipients that their Internet use has been monitored by the FBI and that they have accessed illegal web sites. The e-mails then direct recipients to open an attachment and answer questions.” (Thanks to Jason Ryan of our WashingtonBureau for passing it on.)
If you get an odd email from the FBI, they say to report it HERE.
Rest assured, they say, the Bureau “does not engage in thepractice of sending unsolicited e-mails to the public in this manner.” They may, of course, show up on occasion with guns and a search warrant.