Media rant

I'm feeling a touch apocalyptic this morning, what with hundreds dying in a stampede, the ongoing devastation from Katrina and, yes, $3 gas.Let me take this moment, though, to announce my profound disgust for CNN, and specifically the Nancy Grace show.I don't watch much TV, myself, but there are plenty here in the NewsCenter -- and, of course, plenty in many restaurants and bars downtown. CNN was playing last night when I walked into Vermont Street BBQ.There's a lot of death and destruction in the world, but what were Nancy Grace and company talking about? The missing girl in Aruba.Let me say first of all that the apparent death of this girl is a tragedy for all involved. I don't want to minimize how awful this must be for her family...But.We're in the middle of watching the devastation of a major American city -- hundreds of thousands of lives are being changed forever -- and one of the nation's top news channels decides to devote significant time to what, really, should be a local story in Alabama and Aruba?Other folks have spoken to the Missing White Woman phenomenon in the media. I have nothing to add to that idea. But I'm troubled that, even when there's real news going on in our country, CNN has nothing better to do than try and pump up its ratings with stuff that isn't really news at all.


Todd 17 years, 9 months ago

Speaking of things that get on one's nerves about the "news". What's the deal with meta news? You know, where journalists will report on other news.

Example of this:

Sometimes the stories/articles aren't even as useful as this. Or the never ending price-of-gas is rising stories. Where the price of gas is reported and other words are pumped in to make the piece more than a blurb. I just don't understand the media business that well so don't take this as expert advise.

lazz 17 years, 9 months ago

Very early this morning I fired up my TV, cranked out the rabbit ears and was eager (so to speak) to watch ABC (only station I can get) coverage from New Orleans. It was the local KC affiliate still broadcasting. (ABC morning show doesn't start before 7? Really?). After enduring a few worthless local news items, the talking heads started chortling along with video of some goose that had somehow "adopted" a farmer or park ranger or something, and flies along beside him as he mows or tractors or whatever. Yup, end of the world down on the Gulf and we still get our feel-good aren't-those-animals-cute stories, served up by artificially happy news-o-trons. and i thought, yup, this is TV ... and returned to the safety of radio and newspaper ... I'm with ya, brother Joel ...

Joel 17 years, 9 months ago

Hi Todd:

I don't see a problem with this, myself. It's kind of a "no man is an island" type thing -- just because the news (and Katrina is news) is happening hundreds of miles away doesn't mean there's no local fallout.

As for gas: Well, that price of gas is going to affect our economy and everybody's pocketbooks in rather significant ways. IMHO, its news that deserves more than a blurb

But maybe this is a sign that my self-righteousness -- arrogance, as Jill would point out -- is somewhat misplaced. News judgement is more art than science after all.

quinn 17 years, 9 months ago


Nancy Grace isn't "the media." In fact, "the media" is one of the most abused of all generalizations; media critics regularly assert--entirely incorrectly--that because of one piece on one show, "the media" is sinning.

Nancy Grace, like the morons on the Fox News hatefests, is not even a journalist, she's a empty talking head who would run film of goats copulating if it provided numbers. And before we condemn Grace for this, let's remember that the numbers are there. It's quite clear that millions of American viewers did not choose to turn off Grace and the Aruba story--instead they continued to lap it up, just as they continue to lap it up from Greta Blowdry. the messenger no doubt bears some responsibility in this matter, but much more devolves upon the audience.

I've been watching the coverage of Katrina pretty closely, and for the most part it's been superb. Good reporting is by definition over the heads of 85 percent of the population. Both Katrina and and Iraq are demosntrations that "the media," by and large, is doing a splendid job.

lazz 17 years, 9 months ago

Good reporting is offered up by some broadcast outlets, for certain, Patrick. But is it network broadcasters? We all know the far-out wackos aren't worth their hairdos, but is boiler-plate network news still worthy of the legacy? Or is good coverage now a matter of the CNN hardcores, PBS documentaries, specialized programming like Nightline, etc? I have to say, my XM radio includes a radio broadcast of CNN, and the information they've been offering has largely been stellar. Of course there's the occasional dippy item or inane comment, but the majority of their stuff is first rate.

Joel 17 years, 9 months ago

Quinn: Good point that Nancy Grace is not a journalist.

But CNN is a news organization. It should act like one.

quinn 17 years, 9 months ago

So has been AP. Top-notch stuff.

This is actually a popological phenomenon; it's a product of increasing bandwidth.

If we limit our discussions to straight news, as opposed to the shouting morons like Franken and O'Reilly, I think we're living in the Golden Age of journalism. The stuff coming out of Iraq is utterly extraordinary; Ernie Pyle on his best day wasn't half the reporter that these kids in this war are. I've annoyed several of my liberal friends by persistently pointing out that the FOX News newscasts--the straight news part of the programming--is generally excellent. Hume will occasionally let slip some profoundly idiotic comment, but by and large the real journos at FOX are doing vy vy good work. I thought that last year they did the best job w/ the conventions and the election.

The problems are the O'Reillys and Graces and van Susquitodians etc., the Hannity/Colmes robots who pretend to be reporters. Of course they're a cancer on the republic--but they aren't journalists. Anyone who counts on those morons for real news is asking for whatever they get.

lazz 17 years, 9 months ago

Problem is, you are displaying a level of awareness and critical viewing habits far beyond the abilities or habits of the vast majority of American TV viewers. You can't separate the morons from the stars and say, the filling is good, the crust is bad. To Joe American, it's all the same pie.

quinn 17 years, 9 months ago

I hate to be harsh.. oh, who am I kidding? No I don't. Joe and Jane America aren't fit for self-government, let alone intelligent enough to evaluate the quality of American journalism, and that's just tough beans.

Ayn Rand--God, it galls me to say this--was right. the population is dividing itself into the 85 percent of Americans who dote on Grace and O'Reilly, who think Saddam was building atom bombs, who believe Jesus appears on underpasses, and the rest of us, who will be running things for the forseeable future.

No, we aren't going to wait for Joe America to figure out that Nancy Grace isn't a reporter. We aren't going to wait for these halfwits to figure out how to program their DVD players, and we aren't going to wait for them to realize that electricity isn't magic. Fuck Joe America. Those who can't keep up will end up doing whatever the magic box in their living room tells them to do. The rest of us can't be bothered with them..

Frank Dorsey 17 years, 9 months ago

The worst part is that President Bush had to cut short his month long vacation.

lazz 17 years, 9 months ago

OK, but in the meantime, the halfwits babbling skewed versions of the news will carry the day ... their messages carry the same weight as "real" news, to disastrous ends --- i.e., Americans believing Saddam was building nukes in his garage, allowing the Child President to take us to war. So you can't just dismiss them as being unworthy of the discussion -- because in the end, they win ... Speaking of half-wits, anybody hear about the last poll (Pew?) regarding Americans views on creationism and intelligent design vs. evolution? It's not just Kansas' problem anymore ... I gotta get back to work, but if somebody can find the story, post a link ... the numbers were staggering ... we are a country incapable of governing itself, that much is clear.

lazz 17 years, 9 months ago

by the way, Joel, "feeling a touch apocalyptic this morning" is a beautiful way to sum up our roiling emotions over these hellish events. Your observations are keen, as ever.

Terry Bush 17 years, 9 months ago

"Ayn Rand--God, it galls me to say this--was right. the population is dividing itself into the 85 percent of Americans who dote on Grace and O'Reilly, who think Saddam was building atom bombs, who believe Jesus appears on underpasses, and the rest of us, who will be running things for the forseeable future."

HA - When I read "Atlas Shrugged" - as a 16 year old in an all-girl Catholic school who read almost anything I could lay my hands on - it made a profound impact on me. I might not have liked her, or what she predicted, one tiny bit. But her story struck me as a fairly honest prediction of a future world where the government tried (without success) to mandate/legislate charity to others.... to the point that eventually those whose pockets were being looted (Atlas) simply shrugged ("walked away" from it all) to let the looters take control - and the world they left behind soon begin begging for the return of those greedy corporate monsters.

For those who haven't read it, the above synopsis is too simplified...but you get the drift. You may want to read it.

Let's hope she wasn't right.

Aileen Dingus 17 years, 9 months ago

Quinn- I heart you. Excellent Ayn Rand comparison.

I have nothing more to add. I have no cable TV, no antenna, receive no printed news. I get all my "news" from the Internet or from word of mouth, so I'm priveledged enough to be able to pick and choose more easily.

Even though I may not know how to spell priveledged.

Terry Bush 17 years, 9 months ago

More on the Ayn Rand book from

The theme of Atlas Shrugged is that independent thinking, and the creativity and inventiveness that is that independent thinking, and the creativity and inventiveness that comes from this, is the motor that runs the world. In Atlas Shrugged, Rand argues that if the "men of the mind" went on strike, the motor of the world would shut down and civilization would fall apart. The book has its roots entirely in Objectivism, the philosophical system founded by Rand.

Rand suggests that a society will stagnate to the extent that independence and individual achievement are discouraged or demonized. Inversely, a society will become more prosperous as it allows, encourages, and rewards independence and individual achievement. Rand believed that independence flourishes to the extent that people are free, and that achievement is most fairly rewarded when private property is strictly observed. She advocated laissez-faire capitalism as the political system that is most consistent with these beliefs. These considerations make Atlas Shrugged a highly political book, especially in its portrayal of socialism and communism, or indeed any form of state intervention in societal affairs, as fundamentally flawed. However, Rand claimed that it is not a fundamentally political book, but that the politics portrayed in the novel are a result of her attempt to display her image of the ideal man and the position of the human mind in society.

Rand also argues that traits like independence and individual achievement, which currently drive the world, should be seen as virtues, and in her worldview are central to a "rational" moral code. She disputes the notion that self-sacrifice is a virtue, and is similarly dismissive of human faith Christianity or higher being. The book positions itself against god in a specifically, often directly within the characters' dialogue.

Exactly when Atlas Shrugged is meant to take place is kept deliberately vague. In section 152, the population of New York is given as 7 million. All countries outside the US have become, or become during the novel, "People's States." There are many examples of early 20th century technology in Atlas Shrugged, but no post-war technologies such as jet planes, nuclear weapons, helicopters, or computers; television is a novelty that has yet to assume any cultural significance, while radio broadcasts are prominent. Despite this, many of the same concepts discussed concerning the World Wars and weapons of war are addressed, as weapons of mass destruction in different forms exist in the book.

quinn 17 years, 9 months ago

My point is that by and large real reporters are doing real reporting, and doing a hell of a job. Criticism of "the mainstream media" comes invariably from the really stupid right and the really stupid left; people who hate "the press" are the same people who think the President was a war hero and Sen. Kerry a sniveling coward; the same people who believe the world is being run by the Trilateral Commission; the same people who believe in their heart of hearts that they've been kidnapped by aliens and subjected to hideous experimentation or that Jesus appeared to them personally in the flesh. That population is growing much faster than the rational population, but we rationalists will carry the day, because when the morons get too loud, we'll just shut off the magic box in their living room.

Anyway the working press is doing a terrific job on Katrina and on every other important story of which I'm aware. I frankly don't care how "well" the Hannitys and Graces are doing, nor do I care what Joe Bob Sixpack thinks of the press; I won't care about Joe Bob Sixpack even after some kind sould teaches him how to read. If the starting point is that "the mainstream media" is "biased," but Bill O'Reilly isn't, well, anyone who believes that is an idiot, and no amount of time on will change that.

17 years, 9 months ago

"Criticism of 'the mainstream media' comes invariably from the really stupid right and the really stupid left"

Or perhaps we don't share a definition of what the news media is. You seem to count it as "reporters and anchors on straight news broadcasts" and I suppose that's fine as far as it goes. But Joel makes a good point. CNN is a news outlet. What they are providing us, THEY claim to be news. How can they not be news media? When McGloughlin (is he still on?) and his little roundtable of news analysts talk about the news, they are pretending to fill in the news behind what the anchors are saying. You say they're not the news media, but when something appears on the Cable News Network or Fox News, what's on there needs to accept the standards that ought to be applied to all news. If they fail, the "news media" they purport to belong to has failed.

I'm not sure if that puts me on the really stupid right or the really stupid left, but there you go.

Joel: I, too, saw the Aruba thing for about 15 seconds, though I don't know if it was the same show (and I don't know who Nancy Graceis, either). It even had a little "Day 93" graphic as if this was the Hostage Crisis or something. Look, it was news when she disappeared: about 5 minutes' worth. A girl is dead. It sucks. But will we be running day 93 specials for every black woman unaccounted for in New Orleans?

17 years, 9 months ago

"Anyway the working press is doing a terrific job on Katrina and on every other important story of which I'm aware."

Yes, they are, both in NO and in Iraq. Absolutely superb.

Hilary Morton 17 years, 9 months ago

EVERYONE! Can we stop talking about Aruba already? Can we stop talking about Katrina already?


17 years, 9 months ago

Not to worry, I think JonBenet's killer is pretty high on OJ's list of "real killers" to find...

OtherJoel 17 years, 9 months ago

I saw John McLaughlin not too long ago (a month?). He cracks me up, especially after seeing Dana Carvey's quite accurate impersonation of him on SNL:

"WRONG! I had Special K with ban-a-na!"

quinn 17 years, 9 months ago


There has always been a clearly understood professional divide between reporting and analysis. The front page is news; op-ed isn't. The CBS Nightly News is news; John McLaughlin isn't. We (journos) get in trouble when we forget that, but our forgetting it doesn't make it untrue.

What's changed in recent (obsession alert! obsession alert!) is the amount of bandwidth controlled by news-gathering organizations. I will not professionally defend for one second the way many news organizations have elected to allocate that bandwidth, but speaking popologically, all they're doing is maximizing their audience, and popologically speaking, well, whatever works... I find O'Reilly/Grace (she's CNN's Greta van Sequoia)/Colmannity laughable, but they draw numbers, and what I'm saying is this: As contemptible as these phony reporters are, they're drawing big audiences, and no one is pointing a gun at our head. It's hard for me to totally damn Roger Ailes for permitting Bill O'Reilly to howl at the moon when Bill O'Reilly is knocking down two million viewers a night.

So, yes: The FOX News folks and the network folks and the MSNBC folks etc. are doing us and our profession a disservice when they passively allow, or even actively promote, this garbage as "news," and I concede that's a failing of the mainstream media (whatever in hell that is). Both you and Joel are correct; CNN ought to &^#(@! know better, and what's worse, CNN does know better.That goes on their permanent record.

But I stick to my guns re the larger point: the real reporters at the NYT and FOX News and BBC World Service and CNN most especially at Reuters and AP--God bless the Associated Press--are just flat kicking ass these days. We (the people) are collectively the best-informed assemblage of dunces in human history, and it's because today's reporters (a lot of whom are all but kids) are doing great work.

The stuff coming out of Iraq just takes my breath away. This is a new standard of war reporting for the whole world. From now on, the profession's objective must be to try to be as good as the American press has been in Iraq.

quinn 17 years, 9 months ago


ZING! on the OJ ref... A definite ZING!

17 years, 9 months ago

"But I stick to my guns re the larger point: the real reporters at the NYT and FOX News and BBC World Service and CNN most especially at Reuters and AP--God bless the Associated Press--are just flat kicking ass these days."

I'll give you that, gladly. They are. Maybe we dumbos need a disclaimer when we rant against the media*.

  • The word "media" here is not intended to include those reporters and editors who cover hard news. It is limited to talking heads, periodic columnists, and anyone who has ever uttered the words "Jon Benet Ramsey" while the camera was running. Those people are not the news. Even if they claim to be.

Of course, I'll have to take you on re: Saddam's bombs. But that will take a blog of my own...

quinn 17 years, 9 months ago

I love the disclaimer. Perfect.

Fair enough on the bombs, and hey--even if it turns out Saddam was building a bomb, well, we're going to learn that from a reporter.

(In truth I don't care; I think the President had the legal right to knock over the regime whether or not Saddam was building bombs. Hanging the invasion on the hook of WMDs was a nontrivial political error, even though the whole world thought Saddam was building something--because Saddam made us think so.)

cwrist 17 years, 9 months ago

"The worst part is that President Bush had to cut short his month long vacation."

Actually, it was six weeks and counting... but then again, what's six weeks away from the job when you're the leader of the free world and at war.

Marcy McGuffie 17 years, 9 months ago

People. You're hurting my brain (not that it's takin' a whole lot today). Jeez this is a hot topic.

Joel--post more rants. It's getting numbers.

Just when I'm thinking I'm really in the journalism's reminders like this that make me question whether I'm going in the right direction. Then again, it isn't the smaller news outlets that are the problem. It's corporate media. The money grubbing whores who sensationalize and beat a subject to death and then mutilate the corpse a thousand times over. How many african american, hispanic, or unnattractive young females go missing that we DON'T hear about? Their families have to beg to get any national attention on the case...

Hell, maybe I should go back to the original plan of selling out and going for a career in fluffy/entertainment magazine reporting...

Hilary Morton 17 years, 9 months ago

Can we please address the Terry Shiavo case? We need to know for sure if she was a vegetable or not! Should her husband have pulled the tube? We still need to talk about THIS! DAMN YOU, FLORIDA!

jay_holley 17 years, 9 months ago

then again, what's six weeks away from the job when you're the leader of the free world and at war.

Even as a Democrat, I feel compelled to semi-defend Bush on this oft-mentioned "criticism." He may be "vacationing", but let's not buy into the false image that he's just lounging around the pool all day; a huge portion of his time is still in briefings, on the phone, etc. It's dangerous to turn someone into a caricature.

Quinn, let's hope your mention of Ayn Rand doesn't inspire any weak minds to look her up and adopt Objectivism. It's strange, but she was in fact right about a few things.

gypsy 17 years, 9 months ago

Ayn Rand is the Anti-Christ. Oh wait; I'm a pinko agnostic so I guess she can't be. Well, she's something bad.

Here's an interesting URL re: media bullshit.


your_mileage_may_vary 17 years, 9 months ago

"Nancy Grace" is television's only justice themed/interview/debate show, designed for those interested in the justice stories of the day. Grace challenges guests on the most controversial and high-profile legal issues of the day by drawing on her unique perspective as a former violent crimes prosecutor and as a crime victim herself. Nancy Grace provides viewers with a clear understanding of not only the top trials, but also the cases often overlooked.

Just wait, when she sees video of those looters she'll be all over the Katrina story. There just wasn't enough video to loop on Tuesday night for her to get involved.

What a looser - and CNN should jerk her from the lineup.

quinn 17 years, 9 months ago


I hated to even mention Rand, because I think Objectivism is sophomoric, but she was indeed right about a few things. Then again, Isaac Asimov was right about the vy same things, and didn't think he was the Messiah, so p'haps I should've used Asimov. Or Heinlein--none of this would've shocked RH.


She gets serious numbers. They won't pull her unless the audience evaporates, at which point they'll pull her so fast that her parking place will be painted over before she gets back to her car, but until then she's the Queen of the Scene. There was even a crazy moment in the immediate aftermath of rather's retirement where they were talking about her as an anchor for CBS Evening News, but then the fever broke and everyone came to their senses.

quinn 17 years, 9 months ago


That's appalling. That may be the most shocking thing I've seen in all the coverage so far. That's just revolting, and that isn't the product of some "commentator" howling at the moon. A real "journalist" wrote those cutlines, and a real "editor" passed them, and that's sickening.

Off with their heads!

Joel 17 years, 9 months ago

Sorry. Had to leave the office and "work" for awhile. What's up with the Ayn Rand redux?

Anyhoo: My first memory of CNN was as a youngster, during the aftermath of the Marine barracks bombing in Beirut in the early 1980s. My first impulse, as I've said, was to be an astronaut, but I think those early days of CNN (plus a lifelong love of newspapers) helped start me down the journalism path.

And CNN was magnificent during the first Gulf War, inasmuch as it was possible during pre-embed days when the military was skittish about allowing reporters access to the battlefield.

It all went to hell around OJ, far as I can tell. Inflated ratings made news execs like they had a RIGHT to larger portions of the audience than 24-hour news would typically attract. Once they figured out the formula, the jig was up.

quinn 17 years, 9 months ago

Good call. The damned white Bronco.... surely it was one of the Four Horsemen...

Terry Bush 17 years, 9 months ago

Blame Quinno for the Aynn Rand digression .... He hit a nerve with me by even mentioning her or her theories.....

Media folks are like any other service provider (albeit some journalists, like some lawyers, artists, booksellers, moms...etc.) are more honest, more artistic, more principled etc. Bottom line, IMO, anyone who is in a line work that depends upon selling their product or service will (at day's end) have to be concerned about whether the public is "buying" them/it or not. Meaning, if the vast majority of readers/viewers keep reading/viewing, then those who market the "product" will keep doing what sells. And vice versa. As noble and grand as we may want to believe we are (personally or just because we hang out with someone great), we live in a market based society. If really telling the whole story, truly and well, was what sold best, then there would not be nearly the market for people like Grace, Rush, Ann Coulter, Susan Estridge etc. On all sides of the divide there are pundits and commentators who ARE the news. They don't merely report facts. They package ideas and sell them or themselves! And as long as they get paid well for doing so, they will continue to make it up as they go along, color outside the lines, or otherwise give the people what they want!

Marcy McGuffie 17 years, 9 months ago

"Bottom line, IMO, anyone who is in a line work that depends upon selling their product or service will (at day's end) have to be concerned about whether the public is "buying" them/it or not"

Ladylaw, you just hurt this idealistic, budding journalist. Then again, I guess I best buck up and take it like a woman. I'm always open to criticism.

Jeez, it was after a marketing class that I decided to become a sociology major...because I despised the whole "selling a product" scenario. Ah, just let me think I'm being educated in a profession where it's all about reporting the straight up facts. Your dead-on commentary is haunting (but accurate).

Joel 17 years, 9 months ago

"Bottom line, IMO, anyone who is in a line work that depends upon selling their product or service will (at day's end) have to be concerned about whether the public is "buying" them/it or not."

Agreed. But...

The bottom line isn't always the bottom line, even in profit-driven journalism. There's an idea (sparked, I suppose, by the fact that we're the only industry expressly protected by the Constitution) that we have some civic responsibilities.

I get to sit in, most days, in our news editor meetings to decide what's on the front page. What's going to sell papers is definitely something we think about -- I'm not going to lie to you -- but it's not the only factor, and it's not even the most important. We also give people what they need to be good citizens, ideally.

Even allowing that the profit motive has a role in most of journalism, though, I can't imagine what interplay of factors allows you to spend significant and precious prime time airtime on the Aruba story when something Much More Significant is happening.

cfdxprt 17 years, 9 months ago

"Even allowing that the profit motive has a role in most of journalism, though, I can't imagine what interplay of factors allows you to spend significant and precious prime time airtime on the Aruba story when something Much More Significant is happening."

Your answer has already been posted, 85% of people are idiots. I think my roomie, who I really do like, displayed most people's classic behavior last night when we were flipping through the news. He commented that he was so sick about hearing about NO, then proceeded to watch "charmed"; I proceeded to go to my room and read. PEOPLE ARE IDIOTS I TELL YOU, FRIGGIN' IDIOTS.

lazz 17 years, 9 months ago

I mentioned this way earlier -- about the Pew Forum Research Poll on Americans' attitudes towards creationism/intelligent design/evolution. Here's the info and URL --

The poll found that 42 percent of respondents held strict creationist views, agreeing that "living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time."

In contrast, 48 percent said they believed that humans had evolved over time. But of those, 18 percent said that evolution was "guided by a supreme being," and 26 percent said that evolution occurred through natural selection. In all, 64 percent said they were open to the idea of teaching creationism in addition to evolution, while 38 percent favored replacing evolution with creationism.

DavidRose 17 years, 9 months ago

Let's not repay the price paid to forget Chandra Levy. Change the channel and try to sleep at night.

Aileen Dingus 17 years, 9 months ago

Hillary- you're killing me.

Will no one think of the hookers? JACK THE RIPPER IS STILL AT LARGE!

cee 17 years, 9 months ago

My problem with the media as a profit center is that I believe the drive for the dollar gets in the way of journalistic ethics and accuracy. Media outlets are quick to tout the First Amendment to get and do what they want - which they should as the First Amendment is a truly wonderful thing (although some who use it freely forget it applies to all sides. - cough cough - Mr O'Reilly I'm looking in your direction). Great freedom, however, comes with responsibility. The media holds the power to shape the minds the masses. That power should be exercized with restraint.

Other professions self-police their behavior - why not journalists? What if a journalist could lose his or her license like a doctor or a lawyer? Maybe then we can have an end to the sensationalist and misleading hoo-ha now coined as "breaking news."

lazz 17 years, 9 months ago

um .... journalists don't get licensed in this country. Freedom of the press and all that ... as Patrick stated quite clearly, the boobs who blabber are NOT journalists. So no amount of "self-policing" would help. The real journalists have established a remarkable record of self-policing and restraint. Consider, no other industry of its size comes even close to being so utterly unregulated (excepting only the rather difficult-to-achieve violations for libel), and, among true journalists, serious transgretions have been so few as to be notable. by the way, the "self-policing" you refer to in regards to doctors and lawyers are actually state mandated and administered. Same goes for barbers. and just about any other profession you can think of. 'cept journalists and preachers. God Bless the Bill of Rights. Or what remains of it.

Terry Bush 17 years, 9 months ago

(sparked, I suppose, by the fact that we're the only industry expressly protected by the Constitution ...) Are you referring to the 1st Amendment protections? Last I checked, that part of the Constitution applies to everyone, not just the media....

17 years, 9 months ago

A Note from Peggy Noonan:

¢ The media. Excellent as always in time of crisis. We all love to hate them, but when a story like this comes along you're glad Anderson Cooper decided to stand there up to his butt in snakes and alligators to tell you about the city that's become a swamp. You're glad the anchors are so crisp and contained, you're glad Brian Williams is in the Superdome telling you what's going on. They're rich and celebrated, our media stars, but when stories like this come they earn it. Not sufficiently celebrated: television cameramen, who do much of what Anderson Cooper does only while walking backwards and with their eye in a viewfinder. They're good.

cee 17 years, 9 months ago

Ladylaw, I think you are misconstruing my comments. Yes, the First Amendment applies to everyone. But the First Amendment also specifically states that the government will not interfere with the freedom of the press. This is has been interpreted to mean that the government or the courts can't tell the press what to do because the press gets to determine what is and what is not news. Am I saying this is bad? Absolutely not. Am I saying that some media outlets should be ashamed of the way they use this freedom? Yes.

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