Phone Ignites Gas Station Fire

Flames shot up around a 21-year-old college student whose cell phone rang while he was pumping gas.
Phone Ignites Gas Station Fire (http://www.cbsnews.com)

I’m glad the guy wasn’t hurt.

If we could rig up something similar in classrooms and theatres, I bet people would remember to shut off their ringers.

The graphic shows what looks like a female hand covered in flames behind a fancy flip-tip PDA phone that’s hovering in the air. It’s a right hand with a ring on it… and are those age spots? I wonder if viewers ask themselves questions about whether the graphic artist knew what brand the telephone was? Is this particular cell phone is recognizable enough that people may be put off from buying it, perhaps associating “big flip-up screen” with “will cause gasoline to explode”?

While I recognize that people like having images, I’m always suspicious and annoyed at the graphics that are created out of thin air to entertain TV viewers who will switch to other channels if there isn’t enough eye candy. The fact that the stations have to put resources into the creation of fictionalized graphics in order to keep their market share, rather than hiring more reporters or fact-checkers, is one reason why it’s so easy to produce polished TV that is shoddy journalism. (I don’t mean that this particular story is shoddy journalism… it’s the graphic that I’m talking about.)