I must admit, I haven’t followed what’s going on in Iran, but logging into Twitter a few hours ago and seeing #IranElection and #CNNfail as a couple of the trending topics, curiosity got the better of me and I decided to see what was going on.
What’s going on is that Iran just held their elections, and there are riots going on in the streets regarding their outcome.
Like I said, I don’t know much about Iran politics so I’ll refrain from commenting on them until I learn more, but what I’m more ticked off about is that when I heard about riots, people getting arrested, buildings burning, and such via Twitter, and wanted to see what was going on on TV (this was around 2am MST my time), all I saw was this:
CNN: Larry King interviewing the hosts of American Chopper
BBC World: Some show that wasn’t the news
CBC Newsworld: News Documentary
CTV News Channel: Repeat of CTV National News
Furthermore, the top story on the front page of CNN.com was a story about the switch from analog to digital TV signals.
In other words, none of the so-called “24 hour news” media outlets were covering the developing story live.
With some declaring that the election was stolen, citizens getting arrested, foreign media getting beaten by riot police, communications black-outs, rumors that a rally for opposition leader Mousavi being a trap to capture protesters & that the AP has been told that foreign press must be prepared to leave the country, and God knows what else, you would think that at least CNN would be covering this literally breaking news story RIGHT NOW like they did 20 years ago at Tienanmen Square (which some say is what earned them their reputation for being the worldwide leader in news).
In fact, if anything, what’s going on in Tehran right now sounds like the closest thing to Tienanmen Square this century.
That said, I totally concede that this could all be blown out of proportion (remember the old game of “Telephone” and how rapidly messages can get corrupted?) but with no one covering this live except for the web teams of the news outlets (and even then, their information flow is nothing compared to what’s coming through Twitter right now), it’s hard to separate fact from fiction.
While I’m waiting for some 24 hour TV news outlet to pick this up with live coverage, I find myself glued to http://iran.twazzup.com/ and watching the real-time reports from citizens come in via Twitter.
It doesn’t matter if the reports coming from citizens are conflicting or unverified and it doesn’t matter if the news outlets covered stuff earlier in the day; there’s stuff going on RIGHT NOW and the (so-called) 24 hour news channels should be live trying to verify reports, or at least give a running tally on what’s going on. Instead, they’re all running recorded programming. Is there no one at the offices now? Just because the work day is over, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t important news happening elsewhere in the world!
Anyways, some frontline looks on what’s going on down there from people who are in the midst of things:
http://bit.ly/17SDk4 – Cell phone video from the streets
http://tr.im/oqOE – Photos from the riots
http://bit.ly/qikNS – Gun shots from the streets
And some nice articles bemoaning the lack of live coverage on TV:
Twitter Users Shame CNN For Not Covering Iran Elections, Riots
Dear CNN, Please Check Twitter for News About Iran
‘#CNNFail’: Twitterverse slams network’s Iran absence
Twitter Users Make Up For CNN’s Failure in Iranian Election Coverage
Another Journalistic Shift (Again) From Iran