Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Will they remember this later?

Last Sunday's Reliable Sources was hard on the MSM and its embrace of the tabloid ethos. Examples:

KURTZ: David Zurawik, I almost have the impression, for the media, it almost doesn't matter whether John Karr did it. If he's the killer, it's a great story. If it's a hoax, it's a great story.

ZURAWIK TELEVISION CRITIC, "BALTIMORE SUN: It's absolutely true, Howie. You know, we've learned nothing. We've learned nothing from this. This is what's amazing.

When I saw that "Solved" headline and us back into the mode, it's because, we -- Howie, we moved away from the old journalism of verified information. Journalism is a discipline of verification, and the worst thing you could do was get something wrong.

Now the thing is to tell a hot story that plays like a prime time drama, and it really started back with the news magazines in prime time. And you are absolutely right. Either one of those is a great story.

JOANNE OSTROW, TELEVISION CRITIC, "DENVER POST": It's true. I mean, you found that the -- the prime time news shows on the major networks were jumping on stories that had come up first in the "Globe" and the "Enquirer" and online, the cable shouters. You know, they can say things and the bottom dwellers can say things that the establishment news can't.

And so this story sort of merged everyone. Everyone's chasing the same speculative stuff, and those old divisions fell away.

KURTZ: Diane Dimond, did the media not pay a price? You were talking a moment ago about how we used to have the reporting of verification and now basically anybody can say anything and put it online or put it on television. And yet doesn't this kind of chip away at the reputation we think we would like to have, which is that we're careful, we care about the facts and all of that?

DIANE DIMOND: Yes. Well, we must have blindfolds on if we think that anymore. Because look at the latest public opinion polls. I think we're right below defense attorneys and used car salesmen, journalists.

And you know what? I think to some degree we've put ourselves there, and we did it by over-shouting ourselves on stories like this. It's one thing to report them, but it's another thing to just completely saturate the public with them

Now the key question is : will they remember this the next time a guest tries to argue that bloggers don't have the standards of the MSM?

The show also discussed Tony Kornheiser and Monday Night Football. Apparently, TK does not read the paper he writes for. You just have to wonder. If the people who work for the Post don't read it, why should people actually pay for the content and waste their time on it?

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