Saturday, September 03, 2005

US Media On the Attack

The Rebellion of the Talking Heads - Newscasters, sick of official lies and stonewalling, finally start snarling. By Jack Shafer

A couple of days ago I wondered if the news media would ever ask the important questions, and more importantly demand answers. Starting yesterday, the collective U.S. media started going for blood, by pointedly asking officials and politicians the tough questions.

It seems a tipping point has been reached in the U.S. media. It is now clearly appropriate (expected even) for reporters to stop playing nice with the talking heads, politicians and officials who were supposed to be in charge of this mess. Even the President has been a target for open and direct critisism.
In the last couple of days, many of the broadcasters reporting from the bowl-shaped toxic waste dump that was once the city of New Orleans have stopped playing the role of wind-swept wet men facing down a big storm to become public advocates for the poor, the displaced, the starving, the dying, and the dead.

Last night, CNN's Anderson Cooper abandoned the old persona to throttle Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., in a live interview.

The political pundits have clearly left partisianship aside, with both the standard left- & right-wingnuts aiming sharp attacks at any official which tries to come up with excuses for why this disaster has unfolded (or fallen apart) the way it has...

I wonder if this shift in the media has anything to do with the sharp decline in the number of press conferences given by public officials. The first couple of days was filled with non-stop interviews by the Governors and they are nowhere to be seen. (maybe they realized that they need to get off TV and get their asses to work)

One other thing...I have to say that once again "Newsnight with Aaron Brown" on CNN has been the abosolute best source for unique, geniune, calm and reasoned reporting and commentary. That program really is a jewel on the dial.


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