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August 22, 2003


Media types confess to The

Media types confess to The Observer the news stories or global events they completely failed to follow. Slate's editor and the co-anchor of 20/20 both missed the Laci Peterson story, which I have to admit I also failed to grasp. As John Stossel said, "It infuriates me how shallow we are that we just cover the pretty blond ones or the pretty white people, and we act like we are making an objective news judgment." Word. When this case first broke, I assumed that Laci must have been a local celebrity or actress or something, for all the sensation her murder provoked. Ira Glass is big enough to admit that he missed the entire Kosovo war. And I guess I'll come right out and say it: I'm still confused about that "blackout" everyone was talking about. -amy

    It's interesting that this piece deals with people feeling bad about missing two differents kinds of stories: there's stories like the Laci Peterson case, which although sordid and intriguing, aren't really important, and then there's stories like Kosovo, Rwanda, the Congo, etc. that don't sell, but are tragic on an almost inconceivable scale, and I guess it's this inconceivability, if I can use that word, that makes news producers shy away from them. Who wants to explain Balkanization, or worse, why factions in Sierra Leone are warring, when you can just keep showing Scott Peterson picking up his morning paper and driving to the grocery store every day? The story writes itself. Anyway, I forgive Ira Glass since his job isn't about news, but any major news organization who regrets missing a story like a war in a medium-sized country can kiss my ass. They miss them on purpose.

    Instead of being controlled by a single tyrannical producer/editor who decides what America sees, maybe these media organizations should model themselves after a more flexible and democratic news organization, namely, me and Amy. That way, when one person decides to ignore a story (e.g., the Laci P. story), the other one is right there to pick it up (albeit after a bit of internal debate involving the ethics of further exploiting missing pregnant women on a website usually concerned with Britney's latest idiocies and what was on last night). So now we are quick to exploit everyone who disappears. I mean come on, would you rather read about Angola? -adm

posted by amy at 10:23 AM | #


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