Can we just call a stop to this practice please?
Fox News Channel opted to cover a high speed chase in Phoenix with the driver going as fast as 100 mph. To the growing horror of host Shepard Smith, who frantically called out to the control booth to dump the feed, the suspect in the pursuit got out of his car, shot himself in the head, committing suicide on the national broadcast of Fox News.
Smith later apologized on behalf of the channel and Fox News Channel VP Michael Clemente issued the following statement:
We took every precaution to avoid any such live incident by putting the helicopter pictures on a five second delay. Unfortunately, this mistake was the result of a severe human error and we apologize for what viewers ultimately saw on the screen.
Okay, fine and good. Fox News apologized for this one. Now can we please make the editorial decision to stop covering high speed chases at all?
First, there is no "news" value on a national level for covering it. Sure, on a local level, it would be good to know that something is happening on a highway you're about to take, but nationally? Nuh-uh.
Secondly, no good EVER comes from this kind of coverage. People are going to be hurt. It may be the suspect, it may be a police officer, or it could be an innocent bystander, but the danger of subjecting the viewership to graphic, violent images like this are more than likely.
Thirdly, it's beyond stupid for police officers to even engage in these high speed pursuits (for the reasons listed above), it's not helping matters when 24 hour cable news channels add it to their content fodder. All it takes is some officer to decide he wants to be a big hero for the cameras for something to go very, very wrong.
So stop already.