Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Media Confusion: How is it that people who spend their lives and make their livings in the media can be so moronic when analyzing it? Ellen Goodman provided a great example this week with her Boston Globe whine about talk radio. (This is not, by the way, her first screed on the subject.) She says, making an implicit comparison to talk radio:
Remember reading about the Spanish-American War in 1898? Publishers like William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer built a war constituency and circulation in symbiotic frenzy with headlines like ''The Country Thrilled with War Fever.'' According to legend, William Randolph Hearst sent a telegram to his reporter that said, ''You supply the pictures and I'll supply the war.''
Let's play a bit of Occam's Razor here. You tell me which of the following scenarios is likely: First, Ellen Goodman doesn't realize that Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and their sound-alikes are not news outlets. She is unaware that they are commentary, that their purpose is to give an opinion, bias, partisanship, slant. Or, second, Goodman does in fact realize this, but she ignores it because she wants to rant against the right wing menace. So which do you suppose is correct? Is she a shrill harpy spreading her own "yellow journalism," or is she just plain ignorant?

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