Archive for December 22, 2008
Pundits Use GOP Talking Points to Analyze Possible Caroline Kennedy Appointment
by Trish Nelson
Is anyone else getting a little fed up with the punditocracy’s practice of adopting the Republican argument as storyline? I’m talking mostly about the cable news networks. In this case, it is Caroline Kennedy’s potential appointment to Senator of New York that is being discussed throughout the media from the point of view of the GOP talking points. Is she tough enough? What about her lack of electoral experience? How will she handle campaigning? Are they serious?
Not that these idle speculations should not be discussed at all, but is it too much to ask that they be accompanied by reporting on the facts?
After all, Kennedy is an attorney, a member of the New York and Washington DC bar associations. She is a Radcliffe, Harvard and Columbia Law School grad. She co-wrote a couple of books on civil liberties, In Our Defense: The Bill of Rights In Action (1991) and The Right to Privacy (1995). She was director of the Office of Strategic Partnerships for the the New York City Department of Education, and helped raise over 65 million dollars for the New York City public schools. And more but space doesn't permit.
I understand nobody hires real reporters these days, but it only took me five minutes on Wikipedia to find these facts. On TV, where most people get their news, instead of usable information, viewers get endless, exaggerated controversy (time filler). I've noticed this week that if Caroline's actual qualifications do get a mention, it seems to be delivered as a not-terribly-relevant aside, rather than the important information that it is.
Sadly, this lack of reporting is not due to incompetence – it is purposeful – after all, facts aren’t all that entertaining. And we must remember and never forget, TV’s primary purpose today is to deliver consumers to advertisers, not to inform the public. That is where the FCC comes in, because there is supposed to be a public interest standard. Hopefully, Obama’s FCC will actually enforce it.
So that is the BFIA rant for the day. But we do not despair. Hope is here and change is coming! To borrow a phrase (slightly modified) from a heroine of ours, Amy Goodman, who usually accompanies it with a raised fist, Media Reform Now!