August 7, 2013

TMZ just cannot be bothered with kidnappings

If you live in California, you probably suffered a bit of a shock earlier this week. At 10:54 p.m. Monday, cell phones across the state seemed to suddenly become self-aware, vibrating violently and repeatedly even though there was nobody on the other line. I’ll admit that my mind did go to places vaguely connected to Skynet and a dark future in which robots have us exactly where they want us.

I was wrong. But the news was still pretty terrible: Two children had been allegedly kidnapped in the town of Boulevard, and an automated Amber Alert function had kicked in on thousands of cell phones.

The kids had apparently been taken from eastern San Diego County after the body of their mother and another child were found in their torched house. Police identified the suspect as James Lee DiMaggio, 40, and the missing children as Hannah Anderson, 16, and Ethan Anderson, 8. Per the Amber Alert, the suspect was driving a blue Nissan Versa.

Some of my colleagues covered the phenomenon in a predictable way, tracking reactions from celebrities. 

Twilight star Ashley Greene’s Tweet, as noted by E! Online: “It’s great there is an Amber Alert option on my iPhone, I just wish I'd been pre warned. Was not ready for that sound this AM."

But then came TMZ, which kept things about as classy as you’d expect it to.

“If you live in California, we all did the same thing last night,” their post read. “We wondered, 'Who the hell sent me this Amber Alert on my cell phone...and how can I turn it off?’”

I know right? Because: Kidnappings! They’re so, like, loud now!

“Of course," TMZ duly noted, "the message was sent with good intentions, to help authorities hunt down a suspect who allegedly abducted two children in San Diego and is possibly trying to sneak them into Texas. 

"But still, we couldn't shut it off fast enough.”


And then their phone was all, “Rrrrrt,” and then TMZ was all, “OMG!,” and then their phone was all “AMBER ALERT,” and TMZ was all “WHATEVERS YO.”

The post ended with poll, because, of course it did.

“Honestly,” it asked. “Were you pissed?”

I’ll admit that sometimes my colleagues’ decisions sometimes make little sense; a few years ago, an US Weekly editor passed on a pitch I submitted about a product beloved by celebrities, simply because the product was “ugly” and wouldn’t make a good photo. 

He also passed on a pitch about actress and reality fixture Brooke Burke.

“Brooke Burns or Brooke Burke?” he replied in an email. “I hate Brooke Burke.”

But this TMZ thing? It’s a whole new level of WTF for me. And for once in my career, I have no answers for you.

To see a photo of the alleged kidnapper, to get the latest information on this case, or if you have any information that might help lead to an arrest, go here

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  1. this is why I love the famefatale and don't venture near TMZ, I like my hollywood served with a side of humanity.