TVNewser Completes Its Descent Into Tabloid Drudgery

Last night on the CBS Evening News, Katie Couric presented another in her series of Primary Questions to the candidates for president of both parties. The question for this installment dealt with marital fidelity and whether it should be a determinative factor when deciding for whom to vote.

This question, while not as elevating to the debate as questions about Iraq, global warming, the economy, or health care might have been, could still have produced some observable squirming from a number of the candidates. But in reporting on Couric’s broadcast, the rapidly deteriorating TVNewser was more interested in propagating rumors than in objective journalism. In an item by Steve Krakauer, who joined TVNewser last month and previously worked for Fox News, two candidates were singled out as having answers that would “be of interest.”

The first was Hillary Clinton, for whom a case could be made for a potentially interesting exchange. Although it should be noted that it was not Hillary, but her husband, who was guilty of infidelity. Since the context of the question was whether someone who was not true to their spouse could be trusted to be true to the country, it really did not apply directly to any behavior on her part. And despite their troubles, a decade has past since the affair and they have managed to keep their marriage and family together.

The second candidate Krakauer cited was John Edwards. And this is where Krakauer demonstrates either a woeful inability to mask his prejudice, or a professional immaturity that borders on incompetence. This is how he presents his next point:

“Also, with reports of a Sen. John Edwards extra-marital affair and subsequent pregnancy, his answer will be looked at more carefully as well.”

By referring to “reports” of Edwards’ “affair” Krakauer implies that there are credible allegations from responsible journalists and sources. The truth is that there is only a single allegation by an anonymous source as reported to the “National Enquirer” (to which I refuse to link) which is nobody’s idea of a responsible journal. And not a single reputable news organization has yet to follow the Enquirer’s smarmy lead, although Matt Drudge headlined it (good company).

The Enquirer’s story is fraught with ambiguity and error. Both Edwards and Rielle Hunter (the alleged other woman) describe the charges as untrue and ridiculous. Hunter, who is pregnant, has identified the father as Andrew Young, with whom she worked on Edwards’ campaign. Young confirmed his paternity, but that didn’t stop the Enquirer from asserting, with no evidence whatsoever, that everybody was just trying to cover up for Edwards. The Enquirer even faulted Edwards for not nipping the scandal in the bud early on by revealing the relationship between Hunter and Young. Of course Edwards could not have done that because he didn’t know anything about the relationship, as Young told the Enquirer.

This is the level of unsubstantiated innuendo that Krakauer pretends is newsworthy. In fact he is engaging in the most vile sort of rumor-mongering. He doesn’t even bother to explicitly inform his readers that his source is the Enquirer (he hides it in a link). And if all of this isn’t bad enough, in an article about the relevance of the breaking of marriage vows, Krakauer smears two candidates for whom there is no evidence of such behavior, but fails to mention others with known multiple marriages (McCain and Thompson) and notorious philandering (Giuliani).

So Krakauer thinks rumors spread by tabloid rags are interesting, but Mayors who keep their mistresses in the Mayor’s residence and use city funds to pay for trysts in the Hamptons are not even worth mentioning. What’s truly interesting and sad is how low TVNewser has sunk and how useless it has become. It is no better now than its new partner the Enquirer or, as I lamented in an earlier article, the Drudge Report. What an embarrassment for everyone involved.

Feel free to let TVNewser know what a pack of ethically-deprived journalistic lowlifes they are:

TVNewser
Chris Ariens, Editor, Exec. Producer
Laurel Touby, Founder, CEO

CBS News Seeks Blathering Idiot

Check out this want ad from CBS (screen cap):

Company: CBS News
Position: Seeking Vibrant Reporter/Host for Eco Beat
[…] Description:
CBS is expanding its coverage of the environment. We seek a talented reporter/host for Internet video broadcast. We are looking for smart, creative, hard working up and comers, who can bring great energy, creativity and a dash of humor to our coverage. A deep interest in the environment and sustainability issues will serve you well.

You are wicked smart, funny, irreverent and hip, oozing enthusiasm and creative energy. This position requires strong people, reporting, story telling and writing skills. Managing tight deadlines should be second nature. Knowledge of the enviro beat is a big plus, but not a requirement.

Responsibilities include reporting and hosting two to three news packages per week plus daily writing for our blog. You should be comfortable using a video camera and the Internet. Be prepared to see America. Heavy domestic travel.

Send resumes, cover letters and links to katzn@cbsnews.com.

Dust off those resumes. Seriously, let’s send Mr. Katz a flurry of resumes from all of us wicked smart hipsters who don’t know crap about the environment. While we’re at it, let’s send CBS applications for political, financial, criminal, and health beats, even if we don’t know anything about that either. Apparently they don’t care. I’ve always wanted to be a war correspondent.

CBS: Let Lara Logan Do Her Job

CBS News is fortunate to have one of the most dedicated and responsible reporters in broadcast journalism. But they apparently don’t appreciate it.

Lara Logan has been posting honest and courageous reports from Baghdad since before the fall of Saddam. Her latest, though, has been shuffled off to CBS’ web site without being broadcast on the network. If you see the piece, you might understand why it was treated this way. In addition to contradicting much of the administration’s delusional assertions of success, the story is accompanied by images of the brutal reality of life on the streets of Baghdad. Now she needs our help to get this on the air.

CBS has taken it upon themselves to decide that America “can’t handle the truth.” But as Ms. Logan herself says in a letter to MediaChannel:

“…this is not too gruesome to air, but rather too important to ignore.”

The letter also called for supporters to let CBS know that they are interested in these stories and that they want them to air. Here’s the email for the CBS Evening News.

For a little more background on Lara Logan, click more.

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