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Reading the Script

Reported by Nancy - August 3, 2004 -

Paul Krugman has his usual brilliant essay in today's (Aug 3) New York Times. But instead of writing about economic issues, he analyzes some of the same media problems we've been discussing here.

Here's the intro to his op-ed piece:


A message to my fellow journalists: check out media watch sites like campaigndesk.org, mediamatters.org and dailyhowler.com. It's good to see ourselves as others see us. I've been finding The Daily Howler's concept of a media "script," a story line that shapes coverage, often in the teeth of the evidence, particularly helpful in understanding cable news.

For example, last summer, when growth briefly broke into a gallop, cable news decided that the economy was booming. The gallop soon slowed to a trot, and then to a walk. But judging from the mail I recently got after writing about the slowing economy, the script never changed; many readers angrily insisted that my numbers disagreed with everything they had seen on TV.

If you really want to see cable news scripts in action, look at the coverage of the Democratic convention.