LA On Fire On TV

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What is it about Los Angeles and the multi-media experience of disaster in our city? I found myself glued to the tv yesterday, watching as the news cut from fire to fire to fire, then reading updates online, then back to the tv. I don’t personally know anyone in peril, yet I can’t watch anything else. All afternoon Channels 2, 4, 7 and 9 were all about the fires, reporters in giant goggles and masks, wind whipped, smoke covered, serious. (Channel 5? Fuck it, we paid for “Reba”, we’re showing “Reba”!) After a while, I start getting snarky at the reporters and the whole scenario. My biggest question was: Is that David Lee Roth reporting from Malibu on Channel 4? Oh, no, that’s Doug Kriegel. (If you were watching him yesterday, you know what I’m talking about.)

Does New York City or Chicago have this kind of TV? Or do they watch our disasters? Okay, okay, I’m not that self-centered of an Angelena, but really, is it just because I live here that I feel like we have more disasters televised than anyone else? (Wait, maybe I am that self-centered…hmmm.) Or do we just have more televisable disasters? Unfortunately we have bad fires almost every year, then mudslides if we get enough rain, I won’t even start on earthquakes (knock wood) and then there are the high speed chases. Though those have dropped off because TV realized that they were adding to the problem by televising the nitwits, thereby giving them all the attention they wanted from their cruise through the city. Then it makes you wonder about those nitwits who can’t get on tv while driving anymore who are now starting fires. I believe there were 2 or 3 fires started just yesterday afternoon that the Fire Department know for sure are arson. Some joker is sitting with his homies, watching HIS fire on tv, proud. Scary thought.

Is it just some kind of human morbid curiosity? We can’t turn away? Are the majority of us, safe in our non-fire area homes, sub-consciously smug, treating the disaster like some great new reality show an soon we’ll be voting off the reporters one by one? (My money is on Diamond Doug K.) Or is it that we are a media-centered city to begin with and therefore we can’t not televise everything all the time?

Your thoughts?

And just for the record, I’m sorry for everyone who has lost anything in these horrible fires. I would never wish this on anyone, not even Glenn Beck.

3 Replies to “LA On Fire On TV”

  1. Going on with my day, just checking news on occassions. Not sitting here smug. Sitting here scared shitless as the hills above me have not gone up since the early 1960’s if the old-timers on my street are correct.

    Add in the dipstick next door has piles of lumber drying for years and never has met a weed he didn’t like if he goes up my whole neighborhood will go up. Can’t say anything as when someone here complains about an out of control business in a residential neighborhood they just get variances and permits which is easier than making them simply clean up their act. Neighborhood Preservation in Monrovia means letting the business run over the residents in residentially zoned areas.

  2. We have similar stuff here in NYC – though our local news channels certainly have fewer natural disasters to report than the L.A. channels do, when we do have something happen (like the steam pipe explosion recently) it’s incessantly covered on local news. (Of course, so is much more mundane stuff like OMG TAXISTRIKEWATCH!!!!111!!) CNN probably wouldn’t be covering this so heavily if the entirety of southern California wasn’t on fire.

    I have family in Encinitas that has evacuated, so I’m watching pretty much nonstop too. Fortunately they are safe, but they evacuated to a hotel in Mission Viejo, which… isn’t that far from another fire.

  3. Chicago rarely has very photogenic natural disasters. Tornados are over too quick for wall-to-wall coverage and flooding doesn’t make great pictures.

    And apparently we don’t export our coverage elsewhere as a lot of other fora have requests for info.

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