Dems have a rousing debate. Zzzzzzzzz.
Remember the summer of 2007, when the candidates had 90 seconds or less to answer a question and everyone wanted to hear more? Those were the days. The Reasonable Reporter tuned in late to the Philadelphia debate, and didn’t hear the ground rules. Apparently Clinton and Obama were instructed to drone on until snores from the audience reached their ears, or until the opponent had a birthday, whichever happened first.
Clinton provided the most memorable moment, suggesting that the GOP should simply apologize for the last seven years and withdraw from the general election. None of the punditry has dissected that remark, but then again, the pundits had dozed off by the time she said it.
Just when you thought there were no new ways to show contempt for a reporter… Along comes the BlackBerry.
The Reasonable Reporter has been kicked out of offices, stood up for appointments, and chastised for stories that didn’t comport with the world view of the subject. Once, a bureaucrat who spotted the press badge blurted out, “I hate reporters,” before any conservation had begun. One copes, and one tries to remain gracious.
Technology, though, provides ever-expanding opportunities for rude behavior. Last week a young spokesperson – with a hot microphone in her face and the reporter’s question half-spoken — grabbed her BlackBerry and tapped out a rather lengthy response to an incoming message. Her eyes glazed and she uttered a disengaged “uh-huh” to (sort of) acknowledge that the reporter was still speaking to her, (haltingly at this point, stunned by her rudeness, and wondering whether it was a signal of dismissal).
The BlackBerry’s purpose is to facilitate instant communication. So far as we know, such communication is not disrupted by a polite word to any persons who might be conducting actual face-to-face communication with the user. Something on the order of “Excuse me, I have to answer this right away. One moment, please.”
By the old-fashioned standards of the last century, a mere nine years ago, communication deferred by two minutes or so is still fairly instantaneous. The young spokesperson might have waited until the reporter, who was part of a group summoned by the young spokesperson for a briefing, had departed. But there was something apparently more pressing than the questions of the reporter who had responded to the young spokesperson’s invitation.
Technology has evolved so fast since the young spokesperson’s generation left home, that the Mommies and Daddies – even if it had occurred to them — didn’t have a chance to incorporate BlackBerry etiquette into their training about such things as table manners and thank you notes. So maybe it’s now the job of the bosses. This must-respond-now behavior is not confined to conversations with reporters. It’s widespread, it’s most prevalent among younger users, who seem oblivious to its alienating effect, and it’s rude. Someone needs to point out that the connection with the human beings in the room is not, and should not be secondary to the wireless connection.Explore posts in the same categories: Uncategorized