Wednesday, 26 September 2007

The Press

One more datapoint


Katie Couric at the National Press Club:

The whole culture of wearing flags on our lapel and saying ‘we’ when referring to the United States and, even the ‘shock and awe’ of the initial stages, it was just too jubilant and just a little uncomfortable. And I remember feeling, when I was anchoring the ‘Today’ show, this inevitable march towards war and kind of feeling like, ‘Will anybody put the brakes on this?’ And is this really being properly challenged by the right people? And I think, at the time, anyone who questioned the administration was considered unpatriotic and it was a very difficult position to be in.”

If her discomfort with being an American becomes too much to bear, Couric can always use her network-derived millions to helicopter away to a Switzerland, or a Singapore, or a Moscow. There, as a member in good standing of the international nomenklatura, she can continue to observe comfortably, in splendid insulation from the consequences of her actions here.


More on the Couric speech:

Posted by: Old Grouch in The Press at 22:27:51 GMT | No Comments | Add Comment
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Monday, 24 September 2007

The Press

Decline and fall continues

In the latest on the BBC's phone-in scandals, it's now revealed that they couldn't even name a cat without cheating.

The BBC has confirmed children's show Blue Peter broke guidelines in a vote to name its cat, as it revealed three other breaches of editorial rules.

The cat was called Socks after staff changed the results of an online poll. Viewers wanted the cat named Cookie.
But they promise penance:
An apology will be broadcast to Blue Peter viewers when the show's new series begins on Tuesday.

Socks will be joined on the programme by a new kitten, Cookie, to reflect the results of the original audience vote in January 2006.
So they'll have two cats. Which makes it a win for the cats, I guess.


Previously:

Posted by: Old Grouch in The Press at 18:36:49 GMT | No Comments | Add Comment
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Thursday, 20 September 2007

The Press

Dan Rather sues CBS

...says network made him a "scapegoat."

Beldar has read the complaint, and isn't impressed. If this actually goes to trial, it will be one of those "wasp landing on a thistle" situations: Somebody is going to get stung, and you don't care who.

UPDATE 070922 02:14: Neil Cavuto at Fox thinks CBS will fold instead of fight, effectively paying Rather to go away.

...because CBS, in its media heart of hearts, can't be bothered with it.
...
Please tell me the upside for CBS going back, rehashing documents, and interviews, witnesses, and story time lines. If you're CBS, do you really want to get key players talking about this again, under oath? The same players you booted and had sign confidentiality agreements?
(Update HT: Daily Pundit)

UPDATE 070924 03:16: Beldar now has an analysis of how the litigation might play out.
By failing to fire Rather for cause, by whitewashing his personal responsibility while only firing others, and by enabling the shattered fragments of his journalistic reputation to keep stumbling along for almost two more years before he finally staggered away from the Tiffany Network on his own two feet, CBS has put Dan Rather in a position from which he may very well be able to effectively blackmail the network into a settlement.
Don't bother with the comments, though, unless you want to revisit all the dreary old arguments -- raised by the same dreary old trolls.

Posted by: Old Grouch in The Press at 14:15:44 GMT | No Comments | Add Comment
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Wednesday, 05 September 2007

The Press

Naming names: Blogs do another job the mainstream press won't do

On Monday, Glenn Reynolds linked this story (from which I'll be quoting below), with the comment:

The traditional English response to things like this involved tar and feathers. The British may want to bring those traditions back.
His "tar and feathers" remark triggered some reader mail, and Reynolds responded:
Traditionally, Anglo-American political philosophy allowed for what Gordon Wood called "out of doors political activity" -- behavior that was extralegal, but not exactly unlawful, in response to overreaching by authorities...
In my conversation with colleagues, we speculated that the Internet takes on part of this role, with humorous photoshops and YouTube parodies -- along with the ability to simply repeatedly criticize government officials by name (think Mike Nifong) undercutting the usual bureaucratic diffusion of responsibility -- taking the place of some of the older techniques. [Bolding mine - O.G.]
"Naming and shaming" of officials may turn out to be one of  the bloggers' most important functions, given the way the regular media (even talk radio) customarily omit identifying the people behind the positions. Example? Well, here's an extract of the Telegraph article, with my comments:
Social services' [No such agency. Probably the "Northumberland Safeguarding Children Board," but the story doesn't make that clear.] recommendation [Who made it?] that the baby should be taken from Fran Lyon... was based in part on a letter from a[n unnamed] paediatrician she has never met...
Hexham children's services [unnamed bureaucrats], part of Northumberland County Council [Whose members are?], said [Agencies don't "say."  Who?] the decision had been made [Who made it?  (And why the passive voice?)]  because Miss Lyon was likely to suffer from Munchausen's Syndrome by proxy, a condition  unproven by science in which a mother will make up an illness in her child, or harm it, to draw attention to herself. Social services' request [Who signed it?] for an emergency protection order - these are usually granted - will be heard in secret in the family court at Hexham magistrates [and who are they?] on the same day.
In fact, in its 825-word story, the Telegraph fails to identify any of the bureaucrats, officials, or council members involved: Only the victim and her supporters are named, while the government is allowed to hide behind an unnamed "spokesman."

Why are those people nameless? One dirty little secret of newsgathering is that reporters must deal repeatedly with their sources. A reporter who
more...

Posted by: Old Grouch in The Press at 05:11:35 GMT | No Comments | Add Comment
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