Personal and academic blog. Explores the borderlands between rhetoric, politics and intelligence.


The sorry state of crisis reporting

The riots in Copenhagen last night (just around the corner) were an incident that the media had waited anxiously for, for a long time. And when the teargas finally flew they had their field day, with TV and newspapers and internet media brimming with graphic details.

But with all this excitement, the journalists quickly became a part of the episode themselves. Reporters - and seemingly only the eager gung-ho new hires, swarmed the streets and talked every little bonfire into an inferno, every scratch into a gashing headwound and teargas into a smothering blanket.

However, as these things don't happen too often, I didn't get the impression of any real experience showing. The most seasoned veteran reporters could talk about the riots they had attended in december 2006 and this gave them carte blanche to speculate wildly about motives and strategies of the unruly mob and the police forces.

A few examples:

* Tabloid Ekstrabladet: During the Police's raid on Ungdomshuset a German male was "heavily wounded", hospitalised - but discharged later in the day. Heavily wounded?

* Politiken: "Stone throwers sprung a police trap". A group of people in a demonstration were boxed in by the police. In the television pictures there were seemingly ordinary people being caught up in the arrest, later to be released. But they must have been stone throwers, right?


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