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Neil Armstrong’s Death Draws Limited TV Coverage

Aug 27, 2012  •  Post A Comment

“Television news didn’t seem to fully recognize the importance of Neil Armstrong, the first human to walk on the moon, on the weekend he died,” reports David Bauder of the Associated Press.

The story continues, “In the hours after Armstrong’s death was announced, news networks were airing canned programming — jailhouse documentaries, a rerun interview with Rielle Hunter, Mike Huckabee’s weekend show. Menacing satellite pictures of Tropical Storm Isaac had much more air time than Armstrong’s dusty hops on the lunar surface. Talk of the upcoming GOP national convention sucked up the air.”

Bauder theorizes there were several reasons that Armstrong’s death went underappreciated on TV. First, Armstrong died in Cincinnati on a Saturday. Bauder writes: “Not just any Saturday, when news organizations have a skeletal staff, but a late August weekend. Half the country is at the beach.”

Bauder also notes that Armstrong’s death came as a surprise, as opposed to someone the public has been told has been ailing for a while.

Bauder continues, “Armstrong’s determined effort to live a quiet, private life after his astronaut days also left TV at a disadvantage. [There was video of his] moon walk, and not much else.”

Finally, the piece concludes, “Notable deaths often give viewers the chance to reflect, to put into perspective lives of great accomplishment or great notoriety. Not so with Neil Armstrong. His death was like his life: strangely muted given the magnitude of his achievements.”

Here’s a clip of Armstrong’s famous first steps on the moon. Over the past six years it’s been viewed more than 8 million times on YouTube.

3 Comments

  1. Apparently the birth of Snookie’s baby holds more relevance.

  2. I very much appreciate what Neil Armstrong did but as a viewer it doesn’t mean I’m going to stop what I’m doing to watch TV coverage of his death. There are plenty of books and web sources I can turn to when I want to read about his life and many accomplishments.

  3. No color video. That was critical. With little current information of value on Armstrong, and only B&W video, it was not appealing to the current generation of news producers.

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