Monday, June 11, 2007

Great moments in media accountability

Katie Couric, at Williams College's commencement:
"While it's wonderful to have the world literally at our fingertips, the tsunami of information at our beck and call has the potential to drown us and actually make us less informed.... Surfing the web may be fast and fun, but sometimes pursuing knowledge requires you to go in the deep end -- and not just dip your toe in the shallow water. [...]

"The proliferation of celebrity magazines makes Lindsey Lohan's latest stint in rehab seem more important than what's happening in Darfur.

The kind of fluff that accosts us on the newsstand may seem like harmless fun, but it should also come with a warning label that says it can rot your mind and distort your values."

Steve Benen at TPM serves this one up:
On Thursday night, the CBS Evening News' top story was Bush and Putin discussing missile defense, to which the network devoted two minutes and 35 seconds. The next longest item was Paris Hilton's release from jail, which garnered two minutes and 25 seconds.

During the half-hour broadcast, the Paris Hilton "news" got more coverage on CBS than a roadside bomb killing a U.S. soldier, the immigration legislation, and passage of the stem-cell bill combined -- times two.

Chalk another one up to our "Don't ask me, I just work here" press. I trust Couric's talking to her special effects guys right now about designing the logo for that warning label to slap on all her Paris Hilton coverage. Not to pick on her, of course; this kind of thing goes on all over the press. I remember 6 months ago hearing Brian Williams ponder aloud at the way "the media" focuses on the superficial, as if he is not, in fact, the anchor of the most watched evening news in the country.

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