We All Share Blame for Balloon Boy

Emotion-ravenous audience devoured fake tale
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Oct 19, 2009 7:10 AM CDT
Falcon Heene is held by his father, Richard, after authorities say the dad used his son in a hoax to fan interest in a reality TV show he was pitching.   (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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(Newser) – Falcon Heene's media-hungry dad isn't the only culprit in the balloon boy hoax that put the 6-year-old at the center of a giant international lie. We may be just as much to blame for our ravenous appetite for more thrilling "reality" TV events, "glued to 40-inch hi-def images, waiting for the latest fix of manufactured emotion to get us through to the next blog post," writes Foster Kamer in Gawker. The biggest victim is truth. "The harder you try to set the truth adrift," the more it rises up like a "goddamn balloon out of plain view," Kamer laments.

We've become "conditioned to lap up whatever reality freak show Richard Heene wanted to give us," Kamer notes. What "passes for genuine drama is a hell of a drug" that sucks in viewers, Kamer conceded. If you watched the Falcon story "you felt terror and you felt like shit for watching," he adds. Gawker, which purchased a story from Heene's former assistant that further unraveled the hoax, is as much at fault as anyone, says Kamer. Most unfortunately, "kids were involved, and they shouldn't have been," he notes.