A citizen from Florida asked my opinion about the many reports of children in the state of Florida either kidnapped or reported missing. She noticed that Florida in particular seems to experience this phenomenon more so than any other state. Her observation is definitely on the money. She also stated that she’s sick and tired of soo many of the “news conferences” that offers nothing new. She further stated that when police appear on television, almost always with other department heads, they seem to all just want to be in the “spotlight”. She’s right about these observations as well! I noticed the same and it kind of ruffles my feathers as well! Why do they do this?
Let me point out a few examples; The sad case of Caylee Anthony and the new case of Haleigh Cummings, both young children missing in Florida (my condolences to both families). Since being missing, police have called daily news conferences, in some cases two or three conferences daily, to talk about updates. But the news conferences seem to offer nothing new and relevant! It’s the same thing said in the first conference. And to make matters worse, when questioned by the media, they almost always say, “we can’t discuss that at this time”. Then why set up a news conference if nothing new is reveal, or when you know that you’re not going to reveal certain items about the case?
Just investigate the case and call a news conference when you have something new or something important to reveal. And while you’re at it, use common words that all citizens understand. They should quit attempting to sound soo legalistic!
Other example of constant news conferences and legalistic talk…the recent constant news conferences about the unfortunate crash of an airliner in New York state that killed 50 people last week (again I extend my condolences to all the families). In the past few days since she informed me about her observations, I’ve noticed countless news conferences, all saying the same thing…they suspect ice was on the wings! And today, one of the investigators from the NTSB said three things repeatedly that annoyed me.
These are the three things he said,
a) Whenever asked about information on the flight recorder, he answered, multiple times, “we’re auditioning the recorder”, (instead of just saying we’re listening to the recorder, or something similar).
b) Constantly referred to the plane crash as an upset of the plane. What!
c) And this one really confirmed to me that he and others habitually speak like this on purpose. He mentioned that they excavated the yoke stick, instead of saying they found or located the yoke stick!
Auditioning is usually used (usually) when attempting to get a part in a play or movie, or singing, etc. Upset is usually pertaining to a human disturbance or a problem with some event or person, and excavation usually pertains to archaeologists, or others in that field! (is it just me?)
Other cases of legalistic and technical talk was when the space shuttle Challenger exploded and crash, killing all aboard. One of the reporters, as well as an employee of NASA, stated that there was a “malfunction of the orbiter” (referring to the explosion). A malfunction to me is some slight problem, not a catastrophe of the highest proportions involving loss of lives!
Another is…collateral damage. You mean to shoot me and shoot three others accidentally in the process. The victims, human lives, are collateral damage! (I'm not demoting the importance of theses cases, but only illustrating the unnecessary linguistics of these unfortunate human tragedies).
Oh, and another thing, isn't it slightly unnecessary to parade seven department heads on a platform to announce the arrest of a suspect or make a news announcement? The Chief of Police, Head of Detectives, County Sheriff, Chief of Constables, FBI, the task force, the police janitor, okay, I digress! Ask yourself, why do they do this? You know why! Some of those same faces will be running for a higher office next year! Yes I'll say it, many are publicity seekers!
News conferences pertaining to life and death should be concise, clear, and most of all understood as if you’re speaking to a common citizen or an unsophisticated consumer, not as if you’re only speaking with someone holding a degree in English or as if your words are taken from a technical manual.
Keep it simple; after all, as in the cases of the missing children, you’re attempting to apprehend the perpetrator, I mean “catch” the suspect, right?