In case you missed it — Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen wrote a story that basically agreed with Republicans that the media was applying differing standards to President Obama and Mitt Romney. As this blog has tried to explain over a series of posts, that effort fell short.
Also: Did George Will really “bomb” at Mar-a-Lago?
*Until Jack Shafer retires or something, I feel no compulsion to venture into the business of watchdogging the media on lame illicit-drug reporting. Another iteration of Shafer’s obsession with this great and enduring media failure comes here, in a piece titled “Drug panics, bath salts, and face-eating zombies.” It’s about coverage of that gruesome story from last weekend of a man who was eating the face of another man before being killed by police in Florida.
As Shafer notes, CBS4 speculated that “the attack was caused by a new kind of LSD, by a mixture of drugs, or by ‘bath salts,’ the street name given to the many quasi-legal, over-the-counter stimulant concoctions that are packaged and sold under such wacky brand names as ‘Ivory Wave,’ ‘Vanilla Sky,’ ‘White Cloud’ and ‘Zoom.’ ”Other outlets gave that speculation an assist or two, minus the lab tests that would confirm such a notion.
Why does the media addictively foul up drug reporting? Shafer provides a theory at the end of his piece:
Perhaps the press does such a shoddy job because it doesn’t have to worry about any organized, militant constituency of drug users keeping them honest. Stoners are like that: I’ve never met one who was a good press critic.
Michael Wolff’s analysis of Facebook’s problems, and of any website depending on advertising, should be must reading for news executives. Perhaps they won’t learn anything they don’t already know. But it might give some of them the impetus to stop pursuing strategies that are bound to fail, and instead to seek new ways of paying for the news.
*Writing in CJR, Clay Shirky argues that The Washington Post needs to do something, and quick. That something means re-imagining its journalism, relationship with readers, and so on.
Changing the way the Post works will be painful, of course, and there’s no guarantee that any re-invention of its structure and processes would work. There is a guarantee, however, that, left in its current configuration, merely stanching the bleeding, without an accompanying transformation, will merely move them out of emergency room and into the hospice.
*And speaking of thoughts on the survival of newspapers, Tim J. McGuire goes long on the topic:
I believe traditional newspapers are profoundly troubled, but not necessarily doomed. Some will go to publishing a few times a week. Some will die and that will be okay. Despite my life-long love affair with newspapers I believe the market will successfully sort itself out. Medium and small newspapers may well survive a long time and newspapers who figure out how to be indispensable will survive albeit, in a weakened state. News operations that find the right blend of digital, print and device-centric content will thrive as long as they yield more and more power to audiences. Publishers must collaborate with their audiences or the market will tell them they are unnecessary.
*Mediaite has launched a “Trump Watch” thingy, counting which outlets make the most mentions of the guy that George Will called a “bloviating ignoramus.” On Day Two of the rankings, MSNBC is outpacing the rest of the field in terms of Trump mentions.
*Watch Ashleigh Banfield call homosexuality a “lifestyle choice.”