Friday, November 09, 2007

More on journalism, media choices...

Lightning-quick list of articles for this week's 'toon. Everything except for newspapers... I've been working on a bigger post/rant about them...
  • Eric Boehlert writes that "the joke is on the press" when it comes to Stephen Colbert's "candidacy" for president. Boehlert makes this excellent point:
    That's because the press has decided to cover presidential candidates as celebrities, as personalities. This media phenomenon became enshrined during the 2000 contest, when the press announced that presidential campaigns were no longer about how candidates might function as presidents; what they might actually do as commander in chief. Instead, campaigns were about personalities -- which candidate was fun to be around and which one was authentic.

    However, Boehlert himself seems to miss the point a little, when he suggests that since Colbert is a comedian, he does not think elections are serious business. To be more specific, Colbert is not simply a "comedian," he is a satirist... he would not be making jokes about this stuff if he didn't think it was important. "Serious journalists" (and people who like to portray themselves as such) often lament the fact that so many people get their news from "fake news" shows like the Daily Show, but this minimizes the true power of political satire. It is commentary, that happens to use sarcastic humor as a delivery method.

  • Tim Russert is rightly being criticized for his handling of the recent Democratic debates, particularly when he asks questions like, "there's been a lot of discussion about the Democrats and the issue of faith and values... I want to ask you a simple question. Senator Obama, what is your favorite Bible verse?" Paul Waldman says this encapsulates everything that is wrong with Russert, a guy who never misses a chance to remind people that he's just a regular Joe from Buffalo, but in reality is a guy who "stands atop the insider media establishment."

  • Check out an older article by Jack Shafer on the Fox News/talk-radio formula, which of course is not actually based on journalism but rather entertainment. Certainly, teasers for stories about Barack Obama making little children cry (which are later admitted to be untrue) would fall under this formula. Which is supposed to be the "fake news" again?

    Meanwhile, "serious journalist" Wolf Blitzer continues to hammer away on the Democrats for the "notion" that they are "weak on national security."

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