In Sunday’s Editorial, the Berkshire Eagle takes the cable networks to the woodshed for going John Mark Karr crazy…
The war in Iran, fighting in Lebanon, high gas prices, any number of issues that have real consequences to people were bumped off the cable networks for O.J.-style coverage of the Karr confession which, while titillating, had no relevance to anyone’s life. Talking heads Greta van Susteren and Anderson Cooper interviewed self-appointed experts on the Ramsey case while the real world and its problems spun along unnoticed.
With Mr. Karr exposed as a fraud, the cable news networks defend their coverage by insisting that they must provide what generates ratings. Sadly, it can’t be denied that stories about kidnapped or murdered white girls and white women, preferably blond, draw television audiences, which says something about the American psyche that Americans may not be comfortable with. Media consultants will assure embarrassed TV producers that they did the right thing by pandering to their audience.
But is there indeed no market for serious journalism about real issues? If there isn’t, shouldn’t newspeople and producers build one through aggressive, hard-hitting reporting? If TV news and tabloids cover only prurient crime stories and celebrity scandals, the public can be forgiven for expecting nothing better from them, and eventually turning away.