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  • Thursday, August 02, 2007


    The Dying Art and Craft of Journalism

    During the breaking coverage of the Minneapolis bridge collapse on CNN, I was astonished by the low level of the news anchors' commentary. Admittedly, it was Nancy Grace at first for a couple of hours before being replaced by Wolf Blitzer.

    Ms. Grace tends toward the histrionic and melodramatic in her presentation most of the time so this is not a huge surprise. Yet I was reminded of sports "color" announcers during both Grace and Blitzer's presentation. Or newspaper sub-headlines in 19th century US:

    Watery Grave for Many!
    Twisted Wreckage!
    Terror at Rush Hour!
    Tragic Event May Be Terrorism!
    Minneapolis Mayhem!
    Schoolchildren Imperiled!

    The lurid tone permeated the comments, prompting me to call it "Drama based around a true and unfolding event."

    This is the circus of 24 hour news, bloated with puffery, shallow, vastly filled with information only an entertainment medium would call "news." The Fourth Estate of TV news is a barren place, a dustbowl pretending to vibrancy with displays of flash and glitter.

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