When I tuned into Twitter this morning, like many other people, I saw tweets about a bomb threat of some type in Times Square. How serious was this? So I went looking for news and found an erectile dysfunction ad along the way. Classy Fox News — and shame on you CNN and the New York Times for being screwed up, as well.
I started looking for news about what was happening when John Battelle tweeted:
Bomb threat still not on nyt.com but it’s all over Twitter
I hit Google and ignored the main search results with their real time tweets that were integrated, going straight to Google News. The only article I could find was from a site I’d never heard before, DNAinfo, which I gather covers local news in Manhattan.
It was useful. I’d been hearing things about NASDAQ and a bomb threat but I quickly learned this seemed to be a suspicious van parked near Times Square. Probably nothing at all.
Still, I wanted to learn more from news sites. Maybe they had articles out that Google News hadn’t picked up. So I headed over to CNN.
There, I couldn’t find a news story, but there was a live feed being offered. It was buried way down on the page, nearly similar to where I’m pointing in the screenshot below:
I fired it up. A commercial loaded, which I found odd. Here’s a potential emergency — I could know people in the area and be extremely frightened and worried — and I have to wait for a commercial, first? Worse, after the commercial played, there was no live feed. They were showing the weather, instead.
Hey, I know news sites are looking to monetize stuff and there’s that whole debate about people expecting news for free when they should pay. But give me a frigging break. In an emergency, that’s what news sites do. You get the news out first and worry about the monetization later. That’s your job. Make up the money in other ways.
I went to the New York Times next and found nothing, just as I see now as I write this about 30 minutes after I first went there:
Figuring they probably had something, I drilled into the local area of the site and there, buried, was a news article:
Why wasn’t that on the front page? Seriously, the editors at the New York Times didn’t think when this news broke that people might think they should find it? I mean, it is after all happening in New York, from which the Times takes its name.
But really, Fox News beat them all. Similar to CNN, there was a live video feed about in the same place as the screenshot below shows:
I clicked on it, and a Viagra ad started playing.
Look, I’m not a prude, but I kind of got enough of those freaking Viagra ads during the Major League Baseball playoffs. They’re really fun to watch with your 8 and 10 year old. It’s one of those cases where I appreciated how in the UK, certain types of ads simply could not be shown before a certain hour, when kids were assumed to be bed — or in association with certain kinds of TV shows.
But imagine the scenario. You’re a family worried about other family in New York. You head to Fox News on your computer, all the kids gathered around, and here’s the Viagra ad. Nice.
OK, if it’s a real disaster, you might not have the kids sitting next to you. So set that argument aside. The “why the hell are you showing me a commercial” one still stands up. Someone’s worried, concerned, perhaps freaked out. They’ve come to your site, grateful to discover they can get some type of live information, and you first make them watch and ad about how to get their dick hard.
Really, really classy.