Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tony The Tiger

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tony Blair's blistering attack on the British news media showed the frustration of a lame duck politician who once feasted on media adulation by mastering the art of PR spin. But once you move past the bitterness, Britain's outgoing prime minister offered perceptive criticisms of media standards and strategies. Kevin Sullivan's piece in the June 12 Washington Post quotes Blair as saying today's media "hunts in a pack" and "is like a feral beast, just tearing people and reputations to bits." He said newspapers have morphed into "viewpapers" by emphasizing opinion over balance and impact over accuracy.
Blair also cited the pressures of the technology-fueled 24-hour news cycle for "unraveling" sound journalism standards. He fears the media's shrill tenor produce conspiracy, crisis and scandal stories that "sap the country's confidence and self-belief" while reducing the ability to make proper public policy decisions.

Speaking of media critics, O.J. Simpson told Editor & Publisher that "when Paris Hilton was going to jail last week, more people knew about that than knew we were sending people into space that day." The infamous former football star/actor said he yearns for the days when peephole reporting was the purview of gossip writers such as Rona Barrett. "Now, it is the equivalent of Edward R. Murrow reporting it today." Fanning O.J.'s flame was the Project for Excellence in Journalism's weekly roundup of top stories, which showed Paris Hilton snagged more cross-platform coverage last week than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Paul McLeary of the Columbia Journalism Review also tackled the "war-free news" issue in his June 12 column.

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