Please just give the facts

I don’t start checking the clock until late afternoon, because keeping up with world news seems important to me at this time. We watch NBC with Brian Williams and Lester Holt because we like a calm, measured and dignified delivery of the news. Also, we used to really enjoy Tom Brokaw, who predated Williams and Holt, so for years our 6-25 Page 4A.inddcustom was to watch NBC news.

One of the most offensive features of some news coverage, at least to me, is the perky and amusing newscaster. I don’t want to see the reporters and anchor dancing on Friday. Particularly disturbing to me is the too happy, too dramatic, too fakely sympathetic and/or too intense delivery of some.

I don’t like newscasters or reporters with frozen smiles and too white teeth. And I don’t want them to interview any, and I mean any, bystander at a horrific event and ask them how they felt about what happened. What possible difference can it make, and what on earth are people supposed to say to this? It just seems particularly invasive and meaningless to attempt to create drama when none is needed. Let the facts speak for themselves.

Just once I’d love to hear the bystander respond in a way to shut the interviewer up, maybe permanently.

I offer the below alternatives in answering versions of “How did you feel when?”

Question: You saw the tornado coming? Answer: Oh, it was no big deal. I grabbed my cellphone and went to the storm cellar.

Question: Weren’t you terrified? Answer: Nah.

Question: What did you do while waiting to be rescued? Answer: I balanced the checkbook and played Solitaire.

Question: Did your life pass before your eyes? Answer: Nah. There ain’t that much to it, you know?

Last desperate question: What will you do if you can’t find your dog? How will that affect you?

Note to all who want to call and rake me over the coals for my callous view of catastrophe: please remember this is my reaction to how catastrophe is covered, not to the catastrophe itself.

Another pet peeve in news coverage is where music is inserted in the broadcast. I don’t want a musical soundtrack in the background, with the possible exception of the weather when no one is talking and there are pictures of clouds in the sky.

But, if this is what is going to be shown, please for the love of Mike, don’t play rap or hip-hop as accompaniment to peaceful cloud pictures. Try to match the music to the weather prediction. For example, if tornadoes or hurricanes are in the near future, the theme to “Jaws” would be a good choice.

For years after first seeing that movie, if I were driving anywhere and that tune came on the radio, I would become anxious waiting for the shark to erupt through the floorboard of the Volkswagen.

The theme from “The Nutcracker” would be suitable for snowfall, but something more ominous should be chosen for ice storms or blizzards. Maybe something from the world of opera, such as Wagner. I’m thinking specifically of the music used in the Bugs Bunny/Elmer Fudd version with the Viking helmets on robust females. Something like that.

I don’t mind the intro music prior to each network’s broadcast. That’s alright, kind of like the music they play to introduce the Olympic Games or before football when they do the “thrill of victory or the agony of defeat” stuff.

As for the rest of the news, just tell me what happened. Please don’t tell me how to feel about it.