Harry Shearer and others have commented on the news nets' mania for peppering the air with splashy descriptives like "live" and "tonight" in an attempt to add some zazz to their broadcasts. CNN has just introduced a new refinement to the technique, bannering some hours-old video of a Las Vegas hotel implosion with the words "DEVELOPING STORY." Question over here, please: In what sense is a hotel implosion not a finite event?
The charges are placed, the switch is thrown, the hotel goes down. End of story -- literally. Nobody's saying it isn't impressive video, but can't CNN at least have the vestigial shred of intellectual honesty to say, in effect, "We're gonna play this and play this and play this all day long, just because it's cool"? Do they really have to hint that there's still something going at the site of the old Castaways besides the settling of dust? The place has been shuttered for two years, so the odds that there's an errant busload of slots players trapped in the wreckage seem pretty slim. In fact, according to a fire department spokesman quoted in the Las Vegas Sun, "It just went real smooth. They had it well-coordinated. No problems at all."
The essential irony here is that casino implosions may be the perfect example of non-news that everybody sort of agrees they want to see anyway. Vegas hotels, in the words of the old SCTV sketch, always blow up real good. So why start justifying it now?
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