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28 June, 2007

The News on Paris

Here's MSNBC reporter Mika Brzezinski so disgusted with having Paris Hilton as lead news story that she tried to burn, then shred, her script:

This video got lots of hoots and hollers at Digg and Youtube. It's a good thing that somebody finally put a stop to the madness, but sad that we have to applaud newscasters for trying to report real news because isn't that, after all, their job?

This reminds me of the Washington Post's William Booth's online chat with readers today and his response to a commenter who castigated the media for their excessive coverage of l'affaire Paris:

Cambridge, Mass.: Comment: Finally this idiotic and stupid "news story" can come to an end. I cannot believe the amount of news coverage this trivial event has received -- when compared to other important news worthy events -- such as Darfur, etc.

Shame on everyone of the news organizations, outlets and newspapers who invested such obscene amount of air-time on this.

William Booth: I can relate. Though I might suggest that most news organizations, including the Washington Post, can walk and chew gum at the same time. Meaning: look at today's newspaper. Plenty of Cheney, politics, Iraq, wildfires, movie reviews, stock market analysis and a little scoop of Paris.
Talk about a non sequitur.

The issue here is not whether the news media is capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time; the issue is that they're doing more gum chewing when walking is what they're supposed to be doing.

No one is suggesting that news should be dour. There is room for lighthearted fare like entertainment news, especially in cable news networks which have to come up with fresh content 24/7.

But when escapist, gossipy fluff overtakes and crowds out what's truly relevant, they're doing us a huge disservice: tabloid journalism like this is the reason why studies from the Pew Research Center and PIPA show that people are better informed watching The Daily Show with John Stewart and Newshour with Jim Lehrer than by watching Fox News or CNN.

No wonder the traditional news media are losing market share to alternative news sources. This will continue to happen, until they get their priorities straight and quit acting like Extra or Entertainment Tonight.

Label(s): Thoughts

posted at 8:10 AM by City Muse


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