On Oct. 15, the nation watched intensely as a 6-year-old boy from Colorado was believed to be flying thousands of feet in the air, trapped inside a helium balloon device that his father constructed. After hours of distress and disorder, the balloon was finally retrieved from the skies only to be discovered as empty. Authorities were later notified that the young boy, Falcon Heene, had been hiding in the attic of his home the entire time, out of harm’s way.
For those of you who thought this story seemed almost too absurd to be true, you hit the nail right on the head. The Heene family, who had recently been featured on the TV reality show “Wife Swap,” has admitted to the entire fiasco being a hoax, claiming that they staged it to become “more marketable for future media interest.” Turns out they just weren’t ready to give up their 15 minutes of fame.
Something is wrong with these people.
Besides the fact that they are also claiming to be aliens, they deliberately let the entire country worry about their child’s welfare when they were well aware that young Falcon was fine all along. Unfortunately, this is exactly the type of publicity they were looking for. And it doesn’t look like the hype of “Balloon Boy” is going away any time soon.
There’s a saying in the media industry: “Any publicity is good publicity.” However, no good came out of this situation. Not only are the Heenes now facing extensive fines and possible jail time, but their son will now permanently be known as “the balloon boy.” The Heene family may be known nationwide, but it’s for reasons that no one in their right mind would want to be known for.
So the question remains: How should the media continue to cover this debacle? The humane thing to do would be drop the story from the media all together and let the Heenes suffer privately in their legal matters. However, we all know this won’t happen. Coverage will continue and they will end up getting even more media attention than they could have ever dreamed of.
As a society, we have hit an all-time low. We show more interest and curiosity in what Lady Gaga is wearing and Britney Spears shaving her head than in the events that actually matter. Yes, the boy in the balloon was a crazy and unbelievable story that deserved to be covered. Now it has and it’s time to move on. Let’s not give this family any more attention and recognition, particularly considering that that is what they were striving for in the first place.