We are in it. Can you feel it? The 24 hour news cycle. Whenever you turn on Fox, CNN, or (god forbid) MSNBC you are witnessing the insanity. Everything is an “ALERT”, or “BREAKING STORY” accompanied by the appropriate graphic and attention-grabbing sound. On any given day, if you watch for about 10 minutes, you will be convinced the world is coming to an end. That is, of course, if you didn’t have enough common sense to know better.
When I flipped on the TV to see the story of “Balloon Boy”, with in seconds I told myself: “This is a hoax”. I am sure that I wasn’t alone in this estimation, as I am sure the vast majority of the public said this very thing as well. Within minutes, I figured out that it was pretty much impossible to lift that boy in that balloon by doing a real quick calculation. Understandably, I have an engineering background so its in my nature to do such an investigation, even if its for nothing else other that to satisfy my own curiosity. But this really wasn’t that hard to figure out: a standard balloon could lift about 14g, the boy was probably about 23kg, it would take about 1,640 balloons to lift him at all, let alone how high it got. That balloon was clearly not big enough. Why could nobody at these networks realize this same thing? It is their job after all. Are they that out of touch?
Or, did they just want this story to be true so badly that they just didn’t care? I can’t help but think of the producers at these networks like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, only instead of “There’s no place like home”, it was “There’s no story like balloon boy”. Furthermore, what if that boy were really in that balloon? With all the cameras on it, were they really trying to film him falling to his demise? That’s pretty sick.
You do have to hand it to the weirdo Heene dad though, he does know how to play the media. They bought it hook, line, and sinker (actually more like the fish jumped in the boat). Now the media, having been played so easily, is out for vengeance. Since they were made to look like fools, at their own fault, they are now out for blood.
As for the authorities, the Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden said that they “put on a very good show for us, and we bought it”. Bought it? You are the authorities, you don’t have the option of NOT buying it! I didn’t know that 911 calls are viewed as optional by the police.
When all is said and done, the Heene father achieved his ultimate goal to be sure: A reality TV show deal. Of course, nobody will watch it, but that’s never stopped a network before. I even have the opening title sequence for you: camera trucks chasing after the idiot Heene balloon to the tune of yakety sax. Pure gold.