2005-05-10

Runaway Bride: Will the Media Never Learn?


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As time goes on, and more and more little morsels of information about the famed "Runaway Bride's" past slip out, the whole story becomes less and less dramatic and more and more annoying.

Turns out that running and backing out of marriages is nothing new for Wilbanks, nor is felony theft. And, it now appears that she may re-visit her knack for not suffering the consequences of her actions. We can only hope we don't have to listen to the voices of surprise and pity when she once again screws up big further on down the line.

Since her flight to Austin, or rather Dallas, or rather Vegas, or rather Albuquerque, we've learned that Wilbanks is not a horrible person, but also not the fairy tale princess she was made out to be for four days. Memo to John Mason: she's probably not marriage material either. I know, I know. "Ain't we all messed up?" Ain't we all stolen $1,700 worth of merchandise? Or, wait. No. Scratch that last one.

And that's the rub. In order to keep a story going much longer than is necessary, everyone involved must be either pristine or evil incarnate. Everything else just muddies the water. For example, children are always accomplished students who were no doubt on their way to curing AIDS and becoming president. Bad stuff never seems to happen to kids who get bad grades, don't do their homework and watch too much TV.

The story was really starting to crank when we were able to suspect John Mason, her WASP of a husband-to-be. Sure he was a nice guy ... almost toooo nice. The level of tragedy meter was pegging high.

Then we find out that she's just a confused young woman who makes bad decisions from time to time. Well that's just too real. That's not dramatic at all. And this is why I hate the media sooooo much, with their subliminal judgments about what kind of life is worthwhile, and what kind of person deserves attention and pity. Simply by looking at what is covered and how it is covered we unearth a completely screwed up value system!

The fact is, there are more murders than we'd care to know about, every single day. And on both ends of the gun they involve real people; some who are divorced and have no romantic prospects in sight, some who do drugs, some who aren't terribly smart and will be fortunate to live out their life making right around minimum wage, and some who don't have perfect teeth and pretty eyes. Every life is precious and every murder is tragic, even if Sam Donaldson or Bill O'Reilly (no, this isn't a rip or endorsement of any particular agenda) can't muster a good head of sympathy for it.

Shame on them. They can never seem to uncover enough useless crap to make their story more interesting; endless neighbors talking about how nice the killer was, how he kept to himself except when he was playing out in the yard with his puppies, what the victim had for supper, an essay the victim wrote in 5th grade, etc., etc.

How come they never come up with anything to make their story more accurate? In Wilbanks' case they had three whole days with nothing new to report and yet we never heard word one about her shoplifting habit, and the previous engagements and evasions were downplayed. Basically anything that would lead one to the less dramatic but more accurate conclusion that, "Hey! Maybe this chick just bolted," was squelched in favor of the groundless speculation regarding a kidnapping/homicide with the possible involvement of her fiance.

And have they learned? Nope. In Zion, IL, same circus, different tent. Last night, what we lacked in hard evidence, the talking heads more than made up for in wild speculation. So, while the NY Times has at least made overtures about becoming more "balanced," will any of them ever give consideration to becoming more reasonable, accurate or fair?

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