Your RDA of Irony

Scheduling the News

December 27, 2007:  Benazir Bhutto Apparently Assassinated

There was a general consensus that she was dead, but some question remained as to the method.  Was it a bomb, bullets or–as the ever-reliable Pakistani Ministry of Interior reported–a bad bump?  And since Ms. Bhutto was a Harvard graduate, perhaps she was just being ironic.  Her incredibly sleazy (even by the standards of your worst brother-in-law) husband refused to permit an autopsy.  He is now President of Pakistan.

If he found her death convenient, NBC did not.  Rather than disrupt its scheduled programming that morning, the network extended the life of Benazir Bhutto by one hour.  The Today Show did not want any distraction from its holiday theme. ABC’s Good Morning America could delay an interview with a veterinarian and his pet pug to report on Bhutto’s murder and its calamitous implications. BUT NBC’s audience saw Ann Curry’s interview with an “inspirational” basketball coach, followed by her visit with a chef and then a profound discussion with Willard Scott about “being home for the holidays.”

Really, the Today Show could have shown a little journalistic responsibility, and tried integrating the news into the show. For instance, Willard Scott could have announced, “And guess who now won’t be 100 years young!” Perhaps Ann Curry could have asked the guest chef, “Do you know any Moslem funeral dishes?”

Finally, at 9 a.m. Central Time, NBC decided that Benazir Bhutto’s current health was worth mentioning. Her death was one of three reported stories, the other two being a tiger attack in San Francisco and “a miracle rescue” of an 12 year-old American girl in Panama.

Now Benazir Bhutto was officially dead–at a convenient time.

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