Home Store In Memoriam Deborah Newsletter Forum Topics Blogfeed Blogroll Facebook MySpace Contact Us About

Politics in the Media at Its Worst

Reported by Eleanor - July 31, 2004 -

On Foxwatch (July 31, 6:30 p.m.), Eric Burns and guests attempt an analysis of the convention, et al. The key points covered here demonstrate a need to bring real discourse and fairness back to the popular media.

In response to Burns comment that the convention had six times more journalists than delegates; Thomas comment that it was a bad movie with no reason to cover it; and Jane Hill with, "It was a public service obligation," Neal Gabbler said the coverage was "disgraceful, absolutely disgraceful," and that C-SPAN was very different because it covered the speeches; and therefore, the convention.

Then Burns quoted Kerry as complaining that the speeches weren't covered, and the talking heads were offensive. Thomas agreed with Kerry (!!). If they're there, they ought to cover the convention. (duh!) Then Jim made the comment that they're there to get ratings, not to help Obama's political career. (That is probably the most telling comment about why they didn't cover the convention - it was totally political. When Jennings put the gavel to gavel coverage on the Internet for ABC, AOL had the highest ratings in history. The whole point was to ENSURE that Obama and other democrats did not score political points. Ideology trumped greed this time. The ratings soared on Thursday with Kerry's speech, that everyone covered.)

Jane said she was "surprised" that CNN went to Ralph Reed while the audience was still clapping for Edwards, and they followed John Kerry with Ed Gillespie. Thomas responded that if the republican convention is not covered, or covered as this one was, the republicans will scream and yell. They should treat both the same. (In our dreams)

Burns said that Jim Lehrer blasted the networks, but Dan Rather said CBS would get better ratings with a test pattern. Jim said people are free to watch whatever, and Jim Lehrer is a "government employee." Jane mentioned Peter Jennings digital gavel to gavel on the Internet.

At this point Neal detailed what the pundits did (to ruin the coverage of the democratic convention). "The pundits tell you what the speaker has to do. After the speech, they tell you if he met the standard they set, and they talk over the speaker to do it." (For the few speakers that are given the courtesy of having their speech broadcast.)

This conversation deteriorated into calling Teresa Heinz Kerry "a train wreck waiting to happen." It got worse when they asked: "Is the bunny suit to Kerry what the tank was to Dukakis?" Burns said, "Stop calling it a bunny suit. He was visiting the space ship Discovery." Jane said the republicans put it out, and the guy looks pretty silly. Followed by Jim with "the media went along with this early Christmas present." Then, he said that anyone who goes there wears it, but he looked "dorky." Neal responded with something like we are descending to the level .... the media at its worst.

So with that, they switched to Theresa's "shove it" comment.

My comment: I cannot believe that anyone other than a newshound listens to this stuff. Fox can say they show both sides of an issue all they want, but the real problem in most of the media is the issue under discussion almost any time of the night or day when you turn on the TV. Whatever happened to civil discourse about substantive issues? The lack of substance, and the deterioration of civility made the discussion about the absolutely disgraceful convention coverage, that tried to pass for information sharing, necessary. Does the media really believe that intelligent people in their right minds are listening to the daily drivel that passes for news? I'm not a gambler, but it's a good bet that the republican convention will get a different kind of coverage, with very few democrats crashing their party. It will not be business as usual moved to the convention floor, but a coverage of the convention to help the republican cause.