The death of Robin Williams was horrible enough, but cable news had ways of making the whole thing even worse.
After the Marin County sheriff's office gave a press conference on Tuesday spelling out the horrendous details of Williams's suicide, cable networks chose first to zero in on those details rather than, say, talk about depression more broadly, or to tell viewers where they could get help if they were feeling suicidal.
So it was that Fox News's Gretchen Carlson, after allowing that the press conference had been difficult to listen to, asked her guest about Williams's level of rigor mortis, as if that could tell people anything valuable about the situation, or that CNN's Brooke Baldwin and her guest discussed what the most common forms of suicide are, as if that was a worthwhile fact. There seemed to be little news value in these disclosures other than that the anchors had certain information in front of them and felt the need to share it.
Watch, if you want, one example here.
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.