Friday, June 08, 2007

So Appropriate on "Paris Hilton Goes Back to Court" Day

Media crews and the paparazzi wait outside hotel heiress Paris Hilton's home, in the West Hollywood area of Los Angeles, June 7, 2007. (Gus Ruelas/Reuters)

I just turned on the TV to check the weather report and cable news channels have gone Paris Hilton mad. Why didn't I think of dropping my law day job, getting a little plastic surgery, and going on TV? I could be on MSNBCNNBCSBC right now fawning breathlessly over this non-story. Will Paris get to court on time? Will she get sent back to -- horrors -- jail? Meanwhile, the G-8 Summit addressing global warming and the fate of the planet is being ignored. The Iraq Clusterfuck is being ignored; how could this be, what happened to journalism?

Paul Krugman's column today is essentially the obituary for journalism. You know what I say: Journalism is dead; long live the corporate media. The corporate infotainment, bread-and-circus media is the cockroach that will survive us all.

NYTimes: Paul Krugman, Lies, Sighs and Politics (TimesSelect wall; also here and here.)

In Tuesday’s Republican presidential debate, Mitt Romney completely misrepresented how we ended up in Iraq. Later, Mike Huckabee mistakenly claimed that it was Ronald Reagan’s birthday.

Guess which remark The Washington Post identified as the “gaffe of the night”?

Folks, this is serious. If early campaign reporting is any guide, the bad media habits that helped install the worst president ever in the White House haven’t changed a bit.

You may not remember the presidential debate of Oct. 3, 2000, or how it was covered, but you should. It was one of the worst moments in an election marked by news media failure as serious, in its way, as the later failure to question Bush administration claims about Iraq.

Throughout that debate, George W. Bush made blatantly misleading statements, including some outright lies — for example, when he declared of his tax cut that “the vast majority of the help goes to the people at the bottom end of the economic ladder.” That should have told us, right then and there, that he was not a man to be trusted.

But few news reports pointed out the lie. Instead, many news analysts chose to critique the candidates’ acting skills. Al Gore was declared the loser because he sighed and rolled his eyes — failing to conceal his justified disgust at Mr. Bush’s dishonesty. And that’s how Mr. Bush got within chad-and-butterfly range of the presidency.

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