It’s a quarter after two on Sunday morning. This is my favorite time of the day. This is when my mind is its sharpest. The door to the deck is open. Cool air and the rhythmic call of an owl are floating in. The TV is on. The computer is on too. There are dozens of early Sunday morning’s like this every year.
For the past few hours I’ve been watching ‘thumb sucker’ coverage of the discovery in Times Square of a parked car loaded with an improvised explosive device. It’s a dark green Nissan Pathfinder with Connecticut plates. It’s flashers were on as smoke suspiciously built up inside.
A t-shirt vendor saw it and called a mounted cop. That’s the part of the story that pleasantly surprises me. A vigilant New Yorker did the right thing! The cops followed up.
For hours MSNBC was the only network covering this story. Fox News joined in after a while. CNN was notably… embarrassingly… missing as they continued to re-run Larry King Live. Even the New York City stations were in regular programming for much of the evening.
It’s impossible for me to know why this story wasn’t covered through conventional outlets. My guess is many staffers were in D.C. for the nerd prom (White House Correspondents Dinner). TV staffing is down too. ABC News just finished laying off 25% of its staff! The local stations have reduced headcounts as well and those who do remain are often less experienced.
Weakly watched Saturday night is an easy target when you’re deciding where to save money.
MSNBC had an interesting quandary. They had nothing to report, but a story too compelling to leave! If I were running the network I don’t know what I would have or could have done differently.
Their coverage, though totally unsatisfying, gets a free pass from me. Filling time until there was something to report was the right decision.
Mayor Bloomberg has just spoken. He instills confidence. He’s a straight shooter.
I’m going to begin by telling you what we know and what we don’t know.
In spite of his later request it’s tough to think everyone will go about their business in Midtown Manhattan tomorrow. I certainly couldn’t.
Here’s my takeaway:
- There are enough cameras in the Times Square area to make a Bourne movie jealous.
- The bomb was assembled in an amateurish fashion.
- All the evidence is preserved.
Someone will be caught quickly–please.