Saturday, September 04, 2010

Remember November -- and forget "news" media

Unlearned (which is nicer than "ignorant") people might not be aware that, come November, the American people will have an opportunity to rectify a mistake made two Novembers back.
One mistake the people need to avoid this year is heavy reliance on the "news" media, perhaps especially the Times Free Press and definitely especially The Associated Press.
For example, in the TFP of Sunday, 29 August, there was a story of the three-way debate with the candidates for governor of Georgia, Republican Nathan Deal, Democrat Roy Barnes ... and, oh, yeah, Libertarian John Monds.
"Oh, yeah," because, as usual, the AP story barely mentions his name and, as usual, the points he tried to make during the debate get left to the bottom of the story which any local paper is likely to cut.
That happened to a candidate I was helping in 1998. Walker Chandler was running as a Libertarian for Georgia attorney general. In the debate, which Georgia public radio broadcast, the Republican and the Democrat just made fools of themselves, and resorted to some childish mud-slinging.
AP, as usual, mentioned the Libertarian as being present, then put his argument at the bottom of the story.
Next morning, when we couldn't find his name in the AP story in the local paper, Walker Chandler got angry at the sorry, dishonest coverage for the first time in the campaign.
I talked to the assistant managing editor and asked why. She said she had been in charge of laying out the paper that night. She also said her paper ordinarily moved that bottom-of-the-story mention of Walker Chandler to the top, since he was a local boy making good.
Alas, that night, being by herself laying out the paper, and being rushed, she didn't see his name, and the story remained in the lousy, dishonest format AP sent it.
Papers usually just clip the story where the space ends, and information at the bottom, no matter how important, just gets left out.
That, gentle reader, shows you how much "news" papers, including the Times Free Press, really care about content.
And that, gentle reader, shows you why "news" papers lose circulation every day, why "news" papers are being relegated to the dustbin of history as people seek their information from better, more immediate, more varied sources.

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