Nightcrawler Is Journalism’s Here And Now

California experienced a tragedy at the close of 2015. It was the latest incident of Muslim jihadi violence.

No, it was not the UC-Merced stabbing incident that the media has memory-holed and decided to withhold the attacker’s manifesto.The tragedy was the San Bernardino shooting rampage by a homegrown jihadi and his new bride. Immediate media ridicule from the Left came right from the start, as they anticipated a right-wing or white male shooter, only to find out that it was a dynamic duo of Muslims. Follow-up follies were the behavior and actions of the media following the examination of the couple’s apartment.

Fiction had become reality as the antics from the film Nightcrawler were on live television for the world to see. This is the media’s reality of today. It will only get worse tomorrow.

Nightcrawler is a film about many things in modern, American society, but the main setting is the world of media. A young man, Louis Bloom, dives head first into driving the streets at night for crash footage to sell to news stations. His directive is to get gore and horror that will frighten viewers but suck them in at the same time. The protagonist’s actions become bolder with regards to interacting with crime scenes and with framing shots and situations for a better camera angle or tableau. This is a fictional movie, yet felt believable. The San Bernardino shooting confirmed the sensation.

Every news media station had a representative to shoot the couple’s apartment once released. There was a question of the apartment being cleared or not. Supposedly, the FBI had cleared the room. No word if the local authorities had done so. The excuse given was that the landlord had let them into the apartment. In a small apartment, dozens of reporters and cameramen walked through a scene, looking for what? What was the pertinent information? Was the purpose to show that the shooters were “Just Like Us”? Did they want to find a Koran? There was one on display, but that was glossed over.

There was nothing pertinent or important. If there had been, the FBI would not have cleared the scene. Even so, no one was stopped from entering. The media plodded through the apartment with cameras in tow. The key was to be in first, to snatch any such gem that would give the television stations a first, a bit of bait and tingles for the viewers at home. This was rubbernecking and disgusting. It was horrendous in a completely different way than the news stations repeating “home grown right wing terror” possibilities on news segments that evening despite the shooters being identified as jihadi friendly.

The news cameras have become tools for voyeurism. Louis Bloom in Nightcrawler reveals the horror of accidents or shootings at home for viewers to participate in as if they were the ones who crashed, were attacked, or were dying on camera. These news cameras were intruding on the shooter’s home because you, the viewer, could put yourself in their shoes. You could watch and think of how they plotted, or why they chose to go on a rampage at that moment. Pestering the victims’ families is old hat. Asking a murder victim’s next of kin, “How does that make you feel?” is a cliche old enough to no longer be a funny stand up bit.

This can be blamed on a corporate media with the need for ratings or money for advertisers. This is the wonderful angle that the media can take: they wouldn’t normally do it, but those evil shareholders demand quarterly profits. There is truth to this, but there would also be value or monopoly power in being the only news station to investigate any of the Obama administrations plethora of scandals. An even more cynical view is the media wanted to tamper with the scene to hamper the investigation. Only CAIR knows for sure. The deeper blame is that the media is nothing of an information service or analytical tool anymore and just a feelings generator. Hook them with some excitement and tingles, even if the viewer does not understand it.

The media is already at the point of altering audio files to make local crime stories national news. George Zimmerman listened as his 911 call was chopped to make him sound like a racially biased vigilante. The media loves to insert itself into a story. Last summer, Megyn Kelly attempted to derail the Trump train by smearing him as misogynistic and calling upon white knights to make Trump’s treatment of Kelly proof of misogyny. The media and protest-rioters  in Ferguson, Missouri, were in a symbiotic relationship. Reporters for CNN and MSNBC were practically begging for the first Molotov cocktail. The rioters needed the media to portray them as oppressed citizens crying out, and the media needed the rioters for ratings. How much further does the media go before they become Louis Bloom in Nightcrawler: setting up shootouts, or even worse, paying criminals to commit crimes to capture on film? With the media’s actions in Ferguson or Baltimore, is the media not already there?

Nightcrawler’s pitch to draw in people is right. One needs an edge. Harsh, grim reality is one edge, but the truths of today are all opposite the approved Progressive Narrative. The other edge can be in being “first!” and providing the viewer with the experience of reality. Play to their voyeurism. What is the obsession with reality television if not a yearning by viewers for something that feels authentic? These instances will continue, and the media will not change. The media will just ratchet down their costs to match their dwindling revenue. There is always some sliver of the population that wants to see the dead body.

Drones armed with cameras do not need raises and never need to sleep.

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  1. Remember that reporter from Predator 2? We’re basically living with this.

  2. I make my living off the evening news
    Just give me something
    Something I can use
    People love it when you lose
    They love dirty laundry

    Well, I coulda been an actor
    But I wound up here
    I just have to look good
    I don’t have to be clear
    Come and whisper in my ear
    Give us dirty laundry

    Kick ’em when they’re up
    Kick ’em when they’re down
    Kick ’em when they’re up
    Kick ’em when they’re down

    We got the bubble headed
    Bleached blonde
    Comes on at five
    She can tell you ’bout the plane crash
    With a gleam in her eye
    It’s interesting when people die
    Give us dirty laundry

    Can we film the operation
    Is the head dead yet
    You know the boys in the newsroom
    Got a running bet
    Get the widow on the set
    We need dirty laundry

    You don’t really need to find out
    What’s going on
    You don’t really want to know
    Just how far it’s gone
    Just leave well enough alone
    Eat your dirty laundry

    Kick ’em when they’re up
    Kick ’em when they’re down
    Kick ’em when they’re up
    Kick ’em when they’re down

    Dirty little secrets
    Dirty little lies
    We got our dirty little fingers
    In everybody’s pie
    We love to cut you down to size
    We love dirty laundry

    We can do the Innuendo
    We can dance and sing
    When it’s said and done
    We haven’t told you a thing
    We all know that Crap is King
    Give us dirty laundry

    1. Sterling Waldorf January 11, 2016 at 8:48 am

      Song ages like fine wine and it is over 30 years old. All media incentives are for being first rather than right, and the print media decided to chase the sensationalism that TV excels at. Deep analysis in print is nearly gone. Narrative is just the icing on the cake to steer the media down a bad path.

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