Blogging will be sporadic the next couple of days due to the holiday. And you really should have better things to do than read blogs on days meant for family and friends. Happy Thanksgiving to you all….
November 23, 2005
Rebecca Dana and Lizzie Rattner have written an article in the New York Observer about the media and Iraq. Some of the highlights….
While Vietnam is remembered as the television war, Iraq has been the television-crawl war: a scrolling feed of bad-news bits, pushed to the margins by Brad and Jen, Robert Blake, Jacko and two and a half years of other anesthetizing fare. Americans could go days on end without engaging with the war, on TV or in print.
“There’s a dearth of seriousness in the coverage of news,” said veteran war correspondent Christiane Amanpour, “at a time when, in my view, it couldn’t be more serious.”
Corporate security restrictions likewise stifle reporting. At CNN, reporters need clearance from the bureau chief to leave the network compound; similar rules apply at other networks.
The danger “really impedes our ability to get around the country to talk to average Iraqis, to get a really good sense of what’s going on on a daily basis,” said Paul Slavin, a senior vice president for ABC.
While Kurtz has taken his lumps over years from the likes of Mickey Kaus and Eric Alterman over his dual — and possibly conflicting — roles as Post media critic and host of CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” Katharine Q. Seelye’s piece in the New York Times yesterday has kick-started the debate anew: Is it really a conflict of interest for Kurtz to hold both positions, which may put him in an uncomfortable spot when the situation calls for him to criticize or interview one or the other of his employers?
Seelye takes it pretty easy on Kurtz, writing that “He draws salaries from two of the most important media companies in the country: CNN, which is owned by Time Warner, and the Post, which is owned by The Washington Post Company. Such arrangements do not violate Post policy. In fact, the Post has quite liberal rules regarding extracurricular work by its reporters and editors.”
CJR Daily’s Liz Cox Barrett examines yesterday’s overkill coverage on the Gulfstream with only one landing gear down (and makes the same car chase analogy I did). Barrett unfairly singles out FNC for scrutiny in my opinion since all three networks were covering it. Maybe Barrett only watched FNC and that’s why the article is so slanted. In any case I think it unfair to devote a whole article to just one network when all three were beating the story into the ground…
It was a mixed blessing for cable news yesterday when a corporate jet in Oregon developed landing gear troubles soon after takeoff. The upside: dramatic live coverage sure to draw viewers — almost like a police chase in the sky! The downside: lots of airtime to fill.
And no matter how many talking heads news producers call on — pilots, former employees of the National Transportation Safety Board, airport officials in Oregon, even a Gulf Stream 5 expert, all of whom Fox News interviewed yesterday afternoon — chances are they will still be grappling for ways to fill the air (not to mention the screen, as the caption must be constantly refreshed to convey ongoing urgency).
What to do? Here is what Fox News did.