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Thursday, February 10, 2005

Media Standards ... an Oxymoron?

From NationalReviewOnline:

Does the Media Live Up To Its Standards?

What we need from the Davos conference organizers is simple - the tape of what Jordan said. It would be good to get the entire event, but really, what is at issue here is what Jordan said, and how much he backtracked. If the Davos organizers refuse to release it, and CNN refuses to call for its release, and the BBC refuses to call for its release, and every other news agency refuses to call for its release...

...then remember this, the next time the media gets up on a high horse about the public's right to know. Remember this the next time Dick Cheney has a meeting with energy executives. Remember this the next time reporters complain about Bush not holding enough press conferences, and not doing enough interviews. Remember this the next time they talk about the importance of a free press, and an informed citizenry.

Because it's all conditional. None of this applies when the situation includes a media executive says something in a big forum that he later realizes he doesn't want the public to hear. Then all of a sudden, none of this matters, because it's bad form for other news agencies to look into the story if he wants it to go away. "Bad manners, old chap. We journalists have to stick together."

Also, remember the top excuse of Dan Rather and the CBS memos? Those infamous, all-powerful "competitive forces." Mary Mapes, Dan Rather and company just had to do the sloppy, unfair, and shoddy work that they did, because they were just so worried about being beaten by another news agency. And yet in this case... it seems like no news agency is rushing to be first on this. Everybody's taking their time. Nobody wants to be the first to demand Davos release the tape. For days, it seemed like nobody wanted to be the first to write about this, or put it in their news section.

Just where the heck are these powerful, intense, unavoidable, healthy "competitive instincts" now?

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