Tonight’s Lead Story — Misery All Over

I have a routine of DVR’ing the late-night newscasts of local stations, fulfilling my media critic mission to compare how stations handle the day’s stories. Honestly, I usually don’t watch them, but I did today. And I can see why people get sick of the news, and how it can be kind of depressing. Especially as I write this on a gloomy, rainy day.

Matthew Denholm had a bad day

All of our local TV stations covered mostly the same stuff last night, all crime-related. And all the crime stories have to do with people having problems with their relationships, aided by drinking and drugs. The biggest root cause of many of the stories is divorce, which affects everyone from poor to prominent.

Just this morning, the Herald-Leader reported that defeated Lt. Gov. candidate Richie Farmer had his divorce trial postponed, again, on the heels of news that he’d hired his girlfriend for a $60K job during the election campaign.

Can’t we all just get along? Or at least keep the cops away while we’re fighting.

First, there was the 27-year-old man who murdered a man in Berea yesterday, then drove to Louisville, where cops surrounded him at Hurstbourne and Shelbyville Roads. He finally surrendered, leaving 4 stations scrambling for eyewitnesses to the stand-off with police, which must have been a doozy. At least it happened in the shadow of the Flash Cube building (which is what WAVE”s Connie Leonard actually called it) where eyewitness Kirt Jacobs (that guy who does the local leadership videos for the city) had his camera phone capturing video from the 10th floor.  Unlike crime scenes we usually see, all the eyewitnesses were coherent and had all their teeth.

The man arrested, of course, was reported to be having domestic problems at home and going through a divorce.  He may have been suffering from PTSD after serving in Afghanistan. Cops tracked him because he used his cell phone.

That wasn’t the worst of the day, however, because police released the 911 tape of the Jeffersonville man who called in after he decided to stab his wife to death as she was at his apartment picking up the couple’s children.

What’s wrong with these people?

An unarmed 6-1, 260-pound 18-year-old was shot and killed by Shelbyville police because it looked like he’d broken into his grandmother’s home. Police are saying tasers weren’t effective and the big guy attacked them, so they killed him. They’ve hired prominent attorney Frank Mascagni, who can expect a big payday when this one is finished. WLKY claimed an exclusive interview with the boy’s mom.

Yesterday the grandmother of the 15-year-old boy accused of murdering his step-brother said the real killer was her son.  A 60-year-old woman put her feeble parents in a J-town hotel room and left them to fend for themselves, until cops found the elderly couple in a bed in their own feces.

That’s just one day in the news, and it’s not all.

There were some interesting sweeps pieces. WAVE’s Eric Flack never really got to the bottom of the story of why a retired Hall of Fame basketball coach had been banned by the board from volunteering to help out with a 6th-grade basketball team.  WLKY’s Karen Roby found an ear doctor complaining about ear buds. But the best investigative work was WHAS-TV’s Adam Walser’s investigation of shady financial dealings over at University Hospital. The only thing keeping this news from being more alarming is the fact that the details are difficult to understand. But this much is clear:  “The documents show that millions of Medicare dollars…your tax money…went to wealthy physician groups in the form of kickbacks.” That ought to keep the P.R. folks scrambling at U of L for a while.

The bottom line of the day’s news was this – misery. And you have to believe there’s more coming.