Friday , May 17 2024
Too much Miller time?

Does the Miller Journalism Mess Matter?

Updating this entry to mention that the Washington Post
is reporting the Times story on itself can run as early as tomorrow, Sunday.

Ok,let’s start a betting pool:
Who wants to bet that Miller will say anything new and illuminating for the story?

To: Media Critic Jay Rosen
From: A Former Reporter/Current News Junkie
Re: Too Much Miller Time?

Jay, as I wrote in your topic threads I was going to take a week off from writing this column.

Instead I posted links and various thoughts related to Judith Miller of The New York Times over at my blog, as well as some insider media items relating to Jeff Jarvis.
I mentioned – as did you – on the idiocy of a planned First amendment award by the Society of Professional Journalists to Judith Miller.

But then as I started to respond to your question I decided my answer would itself be a good topic this week.

Jay asked:
Some say PressThink has overdone it: five posts! Discuss if you care to.
I say, no: this deserves it, there’s silence coming from the Times, it’s a huge cultural moment for “the press,” since it involves the High Church and everyone in mainstream journalism is talking about it for chrisssakes.

I don’t see SPJ getting away with both the event and its rep entact.


This topic definitely warrants all of this attention in that I think this is leading in one of these three directions:

1) Some serious legal problems at the White House.
Some bloggers and columnists are saying this is leading to a split either between Rove and Card or Cheney’s faction and Bush’s faction. Either one is definitely worthy of this discussion

2) A pivotal moment for The Times as it disappoints its readers and colleagues and shows what NOT to do in such a scandal. For example, stop getting scooped on your own story.

or 3) The public really truly does not care about this stuff and if they can’t get upset about this than that is saying something.

Although the downside to discussions like in here and with my blog is that the more we write, the more some remain confused about what is really going on. So if we don’t know yet are we adding to the confusion? Are we part of the problem?

On the other hand – and this is the other reason I was going to skip writing my column – surely there are other issues of importance going on and I don’t want to seem obsessed or only caring about one issue.

I’m sure some here would love to talk more in depth about this matter of bombings and bomb threats in Oklahoma and on the West Coast and questions about whether there has been sufficient media coverage of the matter.

And then there is this fun story to write about, which is a perfect demonstration of why I gave up on television news for the most part: Stupid photo-ops.
This one, in which a reporter sits in a canoe even though the flooding is apparently over, is funny because they got caught in the act.

It doesn’t help that Chris Matthews is making a guest appearance on The West Wing, further blurring the line between journalism and entertainment.

All this while Anderson Cooper continues his odd habit of out-emoting Geraldo Rivera every chance he gets. What he thinks this is accomplishing is not exactly clear.

And people wonder why there is so little media credibility?

For next week I’m hoping to have something positive to report. I’d ask you to cross your fingers but that does make it hard to type. And yes, I know because I’ve tried it.

Keep up the good fight
Scott Butki

P.S. I don’t know about you but I can’t wait for the Daily Show spin-off, The Colbert Report, to start next week. If it’s anywhere as good at poking fun at “real journalism” as the Daily Show it’s going to be a definite media staple in my diet.

About Scott Butki

Scott Butki was a newspaper reporter for more than 10 years before making a career change into education... then into special education. He has been working in mental health for the last ten years. He lives in Austin. He reads at least 50 books a year and has about 15 author interviews each year and, yes, unlike tv hosts he actually reads each one. He is an in-house media critic, a recovering Tetris addict and a proud uncle. He has written articles on practically all topics from zoos to apples and almost everything in between.

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