To: The News Media
From: A recovering journalist-turned-media analyst
Re: The News Doesn’t Stop, Nor Do the Controversies
I was going to write this column today with a few more thoughts beyond those I wrote here about the media mining mess. But other than pointing you to footage of Anderson Cooper getting the news that the news story had changed, and pointing you to PressThink for the best look at the issue so far, I don’t have anything new to add on that topic.
Meanwhile, a great question is asked at the Poynter web site. At a time when editors are saying they were right or wrong in how they covered the mining story, a writer asks: Did news agencies independently confirm Ariel Sharon’s stroke? Why or why not?
So instead this week I figured I would share some thoughts on other media news:
1) Last month I celebrated the news that CNN and Robert Novak were splitting up. But now come reports – as yet unconfirmed by CNN – that CNN is hiring William Bennett as a political analyst. Yes, the same Bennett who made the stupid remarks about blacks and crime and has written in a patronizing manner about virtues while battling his own gambling problems. So he should have plenty to talk about if he just focuses on his own problems. But maybe he should do that before trying to “analyze” the news.
Note to CNN: How about hiring Bill Moyers or Noam Chomsky to do some analysis?
2) Now, we all know journalists in war zones are potentially going to get hurt but all of the kidnappings and killings are starting to add up. Atrios reported this weekend on the latest:
BAGHDAD, Iraq (UPI) — Iraqi police officials said Saturday unidentified gunmen have kidnapped an American female journalist after killing her Iraqi translator in Baghdad.
And as if that is not enough to make the job of foreign journalists even more difficult we have situations like this one – where a reporter, Ali Fadhil, was captured, hooded and later released – to make you wonder once again how reporters can do such tough jobs. Keep that in mind next time you criticize war reporters.
3) Last week television personalities David Letterman and Bill O’Reilly got into it, with Letterman rightly accusing of O’Reilly making mountains out of molehills (War on Christmas?) and speculating that 60 percent of what he said is “crap.” Media Matters points out some of the inaccuracies O’Reilly is using, particularly that his favorite anecdote about “Silent Night” is wrong. My suggestion: watch the interview yourself and tell me what you conclude.
As an aside, I noticed that Letterman asked O’Reilly if he is a life-long journalist, and he said yes. Later he whined to Dave: I respect your opinion, why can’t you respect mine? Well, Mr. O’Reilly, if you are a journalist why are you stating your opinions as facts or facts as opinions in the first place and since when – to use the title from the great Richard Feynman book – do you care what other people think?
If O’Reilly is a real journalist – checking his facts and not repeating stories even when told they are false – then George Bush is a black woman on welfare.
And I will leave you now with that image.
Your constant reader,