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Erik Wemple
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Posted at 09:00 AM ET, 12/19/2011

Media news derivatives: Dec. 19

In case you missed it---Why did Jake Tapper get “annoyed”last week in the White House press room? It looked as though he was mad only because he’d been skipped over for a question. But Tapper says the issue has a deeper history than that.

Also: How could Karl Rove say these things?

Elsewhere:

●When he writes on something, New York Times Public Editor Arthur Brisbane had better be right. That’s because he sure takes his time in reaching a conclusion. In Sunday’s paper, Brisbane went after the story that the Times published on Nov. 22 about “Victim 1” in the proceedings against alleged child molester Jerry Sandusky. The rap against that story was that it contained details about the victim of an alleged sexual assault that were easy to Google, in effect identifying the boy. David Newhouse, editor of the Harrisburg Patriot-News, attacked the Times for including the Google-friendly touches.

And now so does Brisbane:

In the case of Victim 1, the details concerning the auto accident and the boy’s athletics added human interest to the story, giving readers a deeper understanding of the boy. Was that reason enough to include them and put his privacy at risk? I don’t believe so. The traditional mandate to preserve privacy is there to protect sex crime victims — a broader social purpose that, in my mind, outweighs the transient benefits of a single human-interest story.

Calling it a “human-interest story” rather diminishes what the Times published, which in my view skewed closer to investigative journalism. “Human interest” is Chelsea Clinton on a Pine Bluff, Ark., afterschool program. Another point: Just how far should the Times and other papers go in ensuring that there are no Google-able details in a story like this?

●While we’re in the territory of big newspaper ombos, let’s have a look at Patrick Pexton over at The Post. He addresses concerns that a story in The Post by William Wan went too far. Arms-control fiends, says Pexton, went nuts over a Nov. 30 article that recounted the efforts of a professor and his students at Georgetown University to dig into the tunnel system that China deploys to hide nuclear missiles. They spent three years on the project and ended up concluding that the tunnels could accommodate up to 3,000 nuclear warheads.

Pexton says critics have blasted the story as well as the Georgetown project, though the ombo thinks they’re misfiring:

This wasn’t a story so much on China’s nuclear weapons as it was a story about the amateur sleuthing of two dozen Georgetown students who dedicated their spare time to doing an open-source intelligence study that turned up all sorts of new information on the Chinese tunnel system. The story was more about the students and their team effort than the study’s conclusion.
And that’s why it made for such a good read:It put a human face on an arcane field, and it showed something interesting going on behind the scenes at one of the city’s major universities.

My guess: All these critics are pissed at Georgetown and The Post because they didn’t come up with this tunnel-investigation idea in the first place.

●Ben Smith of Politico contemplates the race that the media don’t have an appetite for. Commenter objects.

●A media war has broken out in Egypt.

●Louis C. K. asks fans to pay up, and many do.

●Chris Matthews does annual awards show. Event of the year for President Obama? Check out the debate:

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By  |  09:00 AM ET, 12/19/2011

 
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