‘Balloon Boy’ Isn’t News

Let me put this very, very clearly for the ‘mainstream media’: The so-called ‘Balloon Boy‘ isn’t news. Perhaps, for the brief period of time on Thursday that officials thought the boy was actually stranded on a giant Mylar balloon, maybe then it was news . . . of the passing ‘random thing happening now’ variety on the 24-hour cable networks. In-depth reporting on this story would really be more appropriate for a local broadcast than for, say, NBC Nightly News.

Once it became clear that the so-called ‘Balloon Boy’ hadn’t actually been on the balloon, but had been hiding in a box at his house, the story was over (even for local media). Even if it gets passing mention in the days to follow, well, he isn’t a ‘Balloon Boy’ and shouldn’t be called one. Turns out he’s just a ‘Cardboard Box Boy.’

When ‘Cardboard Box Boy’ gets interviewed on television the next day and pukes in front of millions of viewers, guess what, that isn’t news either. Nor is it news that the kid said something cryptic about the event being ‘for the show.’ Nor is it news when the boy’s father calls a press conference to announce another press conference. Nor is it news when, at the second press conference, the father asks the media to put its questions in a box. None of this is relevant to anything for anybody. Can we please take it off our front-page news sites now?

Even on the slowest slow-news-day, there are more important things to cover than ‘Cardboard Box Boy’ and ‘John & Kate + Eight.’ I get that people like to have a little escapism now and then, but really, there are other things going on in the world. Who in their right mind would rank ‘Cardboard Box Boy’ above health care reform, an earthquake in Java, or any of the other important stories over the last few days? Are our priorities really this out of whack?

Scott Bradford is a writer and technologist who has been putting his opinions online since 1995. He believes in three inviolable human rights: life, liberty, and property. He is a Catholic Christian who worships the trinitarian God described in the Nicene Creed. Scott is a husband, nerd, pet lover, and AMC/Jeep enthusiast with a B.S. degree in public administration from George Mason University.