[T]he frenzy around it was unsettling to me; as soon as it was published (including some really stupid factual errors) the story was around the world and it made me wonder: how accurate are the stories I know nothing about but read all the time? If something as small as this could have errors in it (some of which I won't go into as they really should be kept in the courtroom, as far as I'm concerned) because of a feeding frenzy does that bode well for our acceptance of everything else we read in the Oregonian or hear on the Today show? A small example: somewhere, somebody got the idea the video was taken with a cell phone and you can tell from the headlines that the media thought this was a cool concept. My cell phone doesn't even take stills, let alone video, but never mind: CELL PHONE CAPTURES ROAD RAGE INCIDENT, blared the trumpets. As a guitar player I know only too well that you can't take back a note once it's been played.Road rage filmer writes about his media experience
I also found the immediate media concern trolling a little hard to take. When I told one local TV station's door-to-door news crew I really didn't want to participate in the whole process because it seemed like they were trying to sensationalize the issue the reporter popped up with "But you might have some information that's vital! And if you didn't speak up the case might be harmed! Then how would you feel?" And I lost track of how many times I was asked to describe how I felt when I was filming the incident, always framed as a leading question telling me how I should have been feeling and cueing up the response they had in mind but which I never did give to anyone.
The most amusing things I saw were comments to the Oregonian's story online, which assured me that the entire event had been staged and that the photos were hoaxes. I really did try to figure out how you could stage something like this and get an arrest in less an hour but I just couldn't do it; I'm simply not creative enough.
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. Come and hear Mark speak at the ALA conference in Chicago on July 1.