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Catching the alert bug

Variety editorial

That little orange stripe on your TV set is not a technical glitch. It is the cable news networks’ latest war-mongering scare tactic, and it is not appreciated.

The nation’s “terror alert” status now merits a spot just above the “crawl” cluttering up the bottom of the screen. Endless, frothy stories about duct tape and the chance of chemical attacks are hardly “news you can use.” Their sole message: be afraid.

This week, only MSNBC decided to continue waving the orange banner, but with the drums of war sounding louder, look for it to once again become omnipresent.

TV techies call the orange stripe a “bug,” which in this case is more than just a technical term.

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