Thursday, August 12, 2004

Journalism Slackers

From Dan Froomkin's "White House Briefing" column this morning:
Who's Following Who?

Mark Z. Barabak and Maura Reynolds write in the Los Angeles Times: "For the last few days, the two presidential candidates have campaigned almost as if they were a tag team or political roadshow. . . .
"Strategists for both candidates said they made their plans first."

Lisa Friedman writes in the Los Angeles Daily News: "Los Angeles will be a hotbed of presidential campaigning today in what by now could probably be called the Bush-Kerry tour."

Couldn't a little reporting determine who's actually first?
In general, I hate the "blame the media" game (it's too often used by politicians to avoid addressing an uncomfortable issue), but the emphasized graph above (the italics are mine, not Froomkin's) is dead on the money. I don't know if it's the 24-hour news cycle or slipping editorial standards, too much blending of the line between journalism and entertainment or what, but it is annoying.

To be fair, for the Los Angeles Times story at least, the who's following who angle is just an aside, but the L.A. Daily News plays it up in the led without trying to answer the question.

Similarly, in Salon's "War Room '04” column, there's an item about McGruff the Crime Dog’s unnamed cousin being considered by the Department of Homeland Security as a mascot to promote terrorism awareness and preparedness. Citing reports from Gannett and NPR's "Day to Day"
The as-yet-unnamed anti-terror dog will be something the Homeland Security people call an "American shepherd." While we're all familiar with German shepherds, [NPR's Mike] Pesca says not even the American Kennel Club has heard of anything called an "American shepherd." Pesca raises the inevitable question: "Is the American shepherd a canine version of the freedom fry?"
Okay, Pesca's comment is clever, but too snarky, especially when "American Shepherd" returns about 4,190 ghits. There is a German Shepherd Dog (GSD) color pattern that's referred to as the American GSD or the American Shepherd, but there also is the North American Shepherd, also known as the Minature Australian Shepherd.

Neither name is on the AKC breed list, but Pesca could have noted that there are several varieties of dogs called "American Shepherds," but there's no agreement on what the name stands for. There would have still been room for the freedom fry joke.

1 comment:

marchenland said...

You should really write to On The Media ( Even though one might let it slide when the announcer interrupted Susan Neely (from the DHS) with a sarcastic barb about the "American Shepherd" issue (Neely, for her part, obviously hadn't done her homework, either), not 15 minutes later were TWO pieces on the media failing to check facts and sources. Ah, the irony!