For the past couple of months, I’ve found myself watching NBC’s Today Show regularly. If you’re a regular viewer, too, then you’ve probably noticed some disturbing trends in their reporting – such as the near-daily “Octomom” updates of the fascination with animal attacks. Today, however, I found myself pretty amazed by the coverage of an anti-smoking ad that shows a lost child to guilt parents into not smoking.
This was one of two – TWO! – segments where Matt Lauer embarked on an oratorical crusade to find out whether the commercial’s producers put undue stress on the child actor by making him think he was lost to get the reaction which gives the commercial its weight. He talked to advertising experts and producers, but absent was the mother of the child, or even the child himself. As was intimated at least once, they prefer to stay out of the limelight – but that won’t stop NBC’s cornerstone entertainment-as-news program from running a story about the child and the harm that may or may not have been done.
(Full disclosure: when I was about this kid’s age, I liked to wander around a bit, so my parents “lost” me – on purpose – in a department store. They knew where I was the whole time. To this point in my life I haven’t had any lasting psychological effects except for the fact that I pay freaking attention to where I am and where I should be.)
Meanwhile in Washington, there are trillions of dollars that have been borrowed from that kid and his generation being flushed down toilets with $100,000 seats. I wonder how bad he’ll cry when that bill comes due?