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It's like something out of The Hunger Games -- people sat at home or in their offices today and watched as a real-life car chase went down in rural Arizona. Fox News was on the beat and anchor Shepard Smith narrated the carjacking-turned-car-chase as the driver made his way off on an interstate west of Phoenix into a grassy field, going as fast as 110 mph at some points. Helicopters hovered over the red SUV, and when the car stopped, and the driver exited, Shep admitted, repeatedly, that he had a bad feeling about what was going to happen. Then, suddenly, the driver ran about 50 feet away from the vehicle and shot himself in the head, killing himself instantly. It aired on live TV.
Despite the five-second delay, the Fox control room wasn't able to cut away, even as Shepard yelled at them to "get off it! get off it!" but it was too late. The suicide aired on live TV, and after Shep's yelling, they cut abruptly to commercial.
When the show returned, Shep issued a sincere apology, explaining the situation and how that should have never, ever happened. He explained that it was wrong and wouldn't happen again. You could hear the frustration and remorse in his voice.
But it's not all Fox's fault. Even though we weren't watching a reality show in which hungry adolescents kill themselves for sport on national TV, we still watched Fox's coverage with wide, believing eyes as a desperate man stole a car, fled police, then shot himself in the head.
It wasn't "supposed" to happen that way, they were supposed to cut away before any lives were taken, but we're at fault, too, for tuning in in the first place to see a desperate man being hunted by cops, because, what, we like the thrill of the chase? The drama? The suspense? We should share some of Fox's blame because we provided an audience for such an event.
Just as they made a mistake in not cutting away fast enough, we made a mistake in thinking a carjacking and a car chase is entertainment.
What do you think?
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