‘Balloon Boy’ coverage should end with hoax admission for kids’ sake
October 26, 2009 —
I wasn’t feeling well Thursday, Oct. 15. My body decided to take care of some flu-inducing foreign invaders by cranking up its thermostat to levels that would make Al Gore cringe were he a part of my circulatory system. So you can imagine my initial thought process when I poked my head out from beneath a mountain of blankets and turned on Balloon Boy coverage for the first time.
Thought No. 1: We’ve highly overestimated alien spacecraft technology.
Thought No. 2: Is this real? Or perhaps a side effect of chugging TheraFlu like it’s Yoo-hoo?
Thought No. 3: Holy [expletive]. This is real.
Thought No. 4: One time my mom accidentally left my brother at his little league game. This is a display of slightly poorer parenting skills.
I didn’t watch more than a few minutes of the live footage filmed from news copters. For starters, it was like what if Wolf Blitzer narrated Speed, and secondly, no one could confirm whether there was actually a small boy inside the apparatus.
I guess I got lucky, because he was in the attic the whole time, probably perched atop a box of pre-ordered “I Heart Balloon Boy” T-shirts and to the left of a box of “I Heart Exotic Tiger Boy” T-shirts (you know, Plan B).
Now that the predictable truth is out — it was all one big hoax set up by the boy’s deranged, fame-craving parents — make way for the American people’s reaction.
The comments on the Web thus far can be categorized under blanket statement as such: 1) What a diversion this news debacle was from the issues that are truly plaguing our society. It was an opportunity many took to interrupt your regularly scheduled program to bring you breaking news when a 10-minute game of hide and go seek or basic mathematical calculations proving the feat impossible would have saved gallons of helicopter fuel.
2) This story probably shouldn’t outrage us as much as it does. Why aren’t we more outraged that widespread joblessness gave us the time to actually watch hours of Balloon Boy coverage?
And my personal favorite: 3) Balloon Boy’s parents are the Devil. They exploited their kids and caused us to feel unnecessary emotions for a glorified kite.
It’s not hard to believe things like this can happen when most state laws require one to obtain a license to own a dog, yet most anyone can procreate and raise children.
Richard Heene, the boy’s nut of a father, wronged America twice: once when he actually believed his plan to break into reality TV would fool anyone, and again when he lied about the stunt on morning shows the following day. He and his wife now face felony charges.
If there’s one thing the press can do now in the interest of the couple’s ironically named children (i.e., Falcon), it would be to back off and return to health care and war coverage. Everyone loves to point the finger of blame at parents for exploiting their kids. “Shame on them for robbing their offspring of a normal childhood for their own personal gain,” they say. Valid point, but now that it’s been made, let’s get the cameras out of the kids’ faces and away from their parents who apparently desire nothing more than to be nationally recognized. Falcon is already saddled with the burden of shaking off the name “Balloon Boy” and erasing puking on Meredith Vieira via satellite from his memory.
The story should end here. Cretinous is the producer who offers the Heene’s any sort of media contract in the aftermath of this event. Dually cretinous are the viewers who consume any such garbage. If we really care about children who are media victims like we say we do, we should quit giving their parents our attention.
Perhaps this will cause more parents to shape up. Maybe if Jon Gosselin, former half of the parenting duo in the TLC show Jon and Kate Plus 8, knew a that Google images search for Richard Heene turns up a hit for his own mug, he’d take it as a sign to abandon hopes for his own career in the limelight.