I make my CNN debut Sunday morning. Reliable Sources, a weekly show that dwells on the media, asked me to be part of its show, which will focus on coverage of the tornado.
Full disclosure: I’d never really heard of Reliable Sources. But host Howard Kurtz, one of the nation’s foremost media critics, does a professional job as host, at least he was with me.
The show airs at 10 a.m. Sunday (Oklahoma time). Here’s how reliablesources.blogs.cnn.com describes the show: “Now more than ever, the press is a part of every story it covers. And CNN’s ‘Reliable Sources’ is one of television’s only regular programs to examine how journalists do their jobs and how the media affect the stories they cover. Host Howard Kurtz is the nation’s premier media critic, and each week he questions print reporters, television correspondents and Internet bloggers about how the press is covering the major stories of the week.”
Here’s how it went down. CNN asked me to appear on the show live. But I’ve got Sunday plans. Actually, I’ve plans every Sunday morning. I will miss church for a Thunder playoff game, but not for a guest appearance on some show. This Sunday, I’m headed to Mayes County for my dad’s family reunion. We meet every Memorial Day on my aunt’s creek east of Salina. I missed it last year because of Thunder-Spurs. Wasn’t going to miss it this year.
But I digress. CNN offered to let me tape my segment, so I said sure.
They arranged for the taping at 1 p.m. Thursday, in front of the now-destroyed bowling alley that sat between the medical center and the Warren Theater, just off I-35. They also arranged for a car to take me. I said I didn’t need a car, I can get around, but they said they had a limo service on retainer this week. So I said what the heck.
So Chuck Cotton of VIP Limo picked me up — not in a limo, but in a Chevy Traverse, which was fine. I took my wife along, since she hadn’t seen the devastation yet. Chuck was a super guy, really enjoyed getting to know him. Anyway, we navigated our way to the destruction area, got there a little early and had time to go visit some friends who lost their home in the tornado.
Then we walked over to where CNN was set up. Wolf Blitzer was taping a segment of something or another while we walked up. He introduced himself and complimented the paper. Seemed like a charming fellow. The crew was very helpful — just a videographer, a produce and then another guy arrived that I’m not sure what he did. All set up under a small canopy, with some lighting.
We taped the segment — Howard asked me about covering all these disasters that have afflicted OKC — and then were on our way.
But it gave me a new appreciation for the crush of national media that descends upon such a disaster scene.