Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Wes Craven School of Journalism

After consulting his gut last month about future terror attacks, Michael Chertoff is now trying to wrench ours.

The voluble Homeland Security Chief teamed up last night with ABC News, the new locus of wet-their-pants journalism, to deliver his latest irrelevant scare story about a year-old threat and his magnificent working in thwarting it.

"I think that the plot, in terms of its intent, was looking at devastation on a scale that would have rivaled 9/11," Chertoff told ABC, commenting on plans discovered by British Intelligence to detonate gel-based explosives on U.S.-bound flights from London last August.

"If they had succeeded in bringing liquid explosives on seven or eight aircraft, there could have been thousands of lives lost and an enormous economic impact with devastating consequences for international air travel."

ABC of late has been juicing up its evening news with such items as a terrorist graduation video supplied by a “Pakistani journalist” and an enthusiastic but pointless report on the resurgence of bank-robbing in the U.S. emphasizing how few perps get caught.

Chertoff’s puffery is a natural fit for this new kind of enterprise journalism to get viewers’ attention at all costs. He prattled for the camera about a “heightened risk” but not “mathematical certainty” of attack based on his reading of news reports from Pakistan and Europe.

If Homeland Security has something to tell Americans that they should do to help avert attacks, let’s hear it by all means. Meanwhile, they and the too-eager media might want cut down on the color-coded self-promotion.

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