Under the Radar

Let's Blame CNN for the Real Balloon Boy Hoax


Without the overwhelming media firepower that CNN brought to his cause, Colorado nut case Richard Heene would have been just another guy in a tinfoil hat who believes our government is controlled by the Lizard People

Because his family's first call was to a local TV station that owned a helicopter, Heene's claims that his son Falcon had been carried away should have just made the local news and been one of those filler pieces where the anchors laugh that the "kid was hiding in the attic the WHOLE TIME!"

Instead, the national cable news network (with an assist from Fox News and MSNBC, loathe to be left behind on some ratings gold) blew up the story and wasted everyone's time last Thursday. 

No one wondered if a guy on put his family on a reality show called Wife Swap might have overwhelming desire to get himself back on television. CNN saw the pretty video and a chance to create the kind of manufactured drama that we usually see on Survivor or The Amazing Race.

Granted, everyone might have needed a break from cable news' endless bickering about the politics (not the substance) of the health care debate and the war in Afghanistan. If the kid's broken body had been in the balloon when it crashed last Thursday, who needed to see that live?

You really have to feel bad for the Heene's neighbors. The video below is a confrontation between a neighbor and the news crews blocking the streets and camped out in front of the Heene home. 

The sense of "journalistic" entitlement from the news crews is really the most shocking thing here. They get punked by a crazy man who tricks the news channels into giving him hours of airtime and they're not even a little embarrassed?


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