Frank Rich on the media’s pursuit of balloon boy

October 24, 2009 | By | 3 Replies More

In addition to blaming balloon boy’s dad, Frank Rich blames the media:

Richard Heene is the inevitable product of this reigning culture, where “news,” “reality” television and reality itself are hopelessly scrambled and the warp-speed imperatives of cable-Internet competition allow no time for fact checking. Norman Lear, about the only prominent American to express any empathy for little Falcon’s father, vented on The Huffington Post, calling out CNN, MSNBC, Fox, NBC, ABC and CBS alike for their role in “creating a climate that mistakes entertainment for news.” This climate, he argued, “all but seduces a Richard and Mayumi Heene into believing they are — even if what they dream up to qualify is a hoax — entitled to their 15 minutes.”


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About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Brynn Jacobs says:

    While traveling recently, my stepfather and I were trapped watching TV in an airport lounge. There was some "news" story about John & Kate (of John and Kate + 8 "fame"). He asked, "So why are these people famous?" I still am not fully sure of my answer, since I don't watch television, but I told him that they are famous for being on TV. As far as I know, there's no other reason. I think that it's a rather depressing commentary on the state of American culture.

  2. Dan Klarmann says:

    I watch too much TV. I do limit myself to the broadcast channels, and try not to watch unless there is something that I want to watch. Mostly.

    I did happen to watch the live coverage of balloon boy, timed to hit the nightly news peak.

    But I have no idea who "John and Kate + 8" are.

  3. Brynn Jacobs says:


    Count yourself lucky. A google search for "john and kate plus 8" shows 5.4 million results. "balloon boy" has 17.2 million. For what it's worth, I guess Mr. Heene is getting his publicity.

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