Balloon Boy, Found. Cable TV, Indicted.

What Women Really Think
Oct. 15 2009 11:19 PM

Balloon Boy, Found. Cable TV, Indicted.

Balloon boy Falcon Heene has been found, in a box in his attic (the perfect place for a 6-year-old to hide), not the hot-air balloon that raced across our TV screens this afternoon. So I think, Hanna, that the balloons can go back to being a giddy, thrilling ride , as they were in Oz and my Smithsonian favorite, To Fly . And now we'll have a round of hand-wringing about wall-to-wall cable TV coverage of crazy mishaps involving small children. Arianna Huffington is already at it because she got bumped from talking on TV Thursday night about Joe Biden and Afghanistan. But you know, I don't begrudge CNN a minute of those wild hours of footage. Yes, it was sick-making to watch, imagining a child inside. But it was also the kind of in-the-moment drama that it's hard to turn away from. That's what cable news does best: Remember, CNN got onto the media map by saturating us with the search for Baby Jessica who fell down the well. If we have the cameras and the capability, how do we turn them off? It would be up to us, the hooked audience, to get unhooked, and it seems to me very human and fallible that we never can.

Emily Bazelon was a Slate senior editor from 2005 to 2014. She is the author of Sticks and Stones.

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge

Politics

The GOP’s Focus on Fake Problems

Why candidates like Scott Walker are building campaigns on drug tests for the poor and voter ID laws.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

Farewell! Emily Bazelon on What She Will Miss About Slate.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 6:23 PM Bryan Cranston Reenacts Baseball’s Best Moments to Promote the Upcoming Postseason
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 16 2014 4:09 PM It’s All Connected What links creativity, conspiracy theories, and delusions? A phenomenon called apophenia.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.