Monday, October 19, 2009

Balloon Boy's Transfixing Effect On The Media

The saga of "Balloon Boy" (or Falcon Heene, as he's known to his new friends at the Larimer Co., Colo., sheriff's office) proved irresistible to the media last Thursday — especially the 24-hour cable news channels, which went into commercial-free crisis mode for more than an hour.
There was no way NPR would have covered it like that on the air, or could have: The medium was the message. The images of that silver mylar balloon shooting across the sky were transfixing. They came from a local news helicopter — ginned up, apparently, by the phone call of Falcon's own father, Richard Heene, to the newsroom of a local television station shortly after the balloon's release to the sky.

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