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Erik Wemple
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Posted at 09:04 AM ET, 01/30/2012

News media derivatives: Jan. 30

In case you missed it---CBSSports.com fired the blogger/aggregator responsible for passing along the bogus story about Joe Paterno’s Saturday night death. In this post, I wrote that both CBSSports.com and the dismissed blogger — Adam Jacobi — carried themselves like true professionals: CBSSports.com for making a strong decision and Jacobi for standing up and taking responsibility. The story prompted this question from @andrewbucholz:

Wondering: where do you draw the line? Should you be fired if you make an error? Should WaPo fire someone for each correction?

That’s a great question and one I should have addressed. We do not know the particulars of Jacobi’s employment, though from how he handled his firing, I’d be willing to bet he was a model employee. The point I was trying to make was that a strong move like this sends the signal that aggregating big news stories is in itself a big deal. If the outlet you’re aggregating got it wrong, then you did, too. In firing Jacobi, CBSSports.com is recognizing that such is the case.

Elsewhere:

*Ashley Parker of the New York Times plumbs the role of Twitter in the ongoing Republican presidential sweepstakes. The piece covers all the ground you’d expect it to — about how Twitter is a real-time thing, how it offers campaigns a chance to get its message out, how what’s said on Twitter can help prepare a campaign to deal with questions on the campaign trail and so on. The bizarre part comes when it discusses a tweet from a Politico reporter that had sent the Romney campaign into a tizzy. The story neither specifies exactly what the tweet said nor the person who sent it. #bizarre.

*And speaking of the campaign trail, boy, is it ever getting nasty out there! How nasty? Nasty enough that people are linking .

*David Carr of the New York Times takes a look at Rupert Murdoch the tweep after a month on the case.

Mr. Murdoch may not know much about computers, but he has an intuitive understanding of how Twitter is supposed to work. By mixing the personal and political, propaganda and plain old rants, he is serving his interests and the interests of his company. He will no doubt make some missteps — two days after he started tweeting, he caused an uproar when he called Britain a “broke country” — but in general, his embrace of social media has gone well. (It will be interesting to see if Mr. Murdoch does some Twitter spinning the next time News Corporation hits a rough patch in the hacking scandal.)

*Fred Thompson bashes the Romney folks, saying that they have “Matt Drudge in their back pocket.”

*AdAge’s Simon Dumenco says Stephen Colbert is the best.

*Steve Waldman at CJR points out how local TV stations are bucking at the notion of creating a “public inspection file.” Such a mechanism would allow people to check out the stations’ records on political advertising and the like with little hassle. But the stations don’t like the idea:

One gets the strong sense that broadcasters are happy to have a “public inspection file” as long as the public is not actually inspecting it. For instance, four TV licensees (in San Diego, Texas, New Mexico, and Illinois) objected to a proposal that the public be notified on air about the existence of the file. “Such announcements may arouse the public’s interest in examining a PIF, but the Licensees do not believe that the Commission should attempt to stimulate such examinations.” Right. We wouldn’t want the public so “aroused” that they would, in their words, play “Sherlock Holmes” rather than engaging station managers in “productive dialogue.”
A comment filed by the stations owned by the major TV networks (NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, and Univision) suggested that researchers should not expect their task to be made easier by the Internet. “Research by its nature requires the expenditure of effort,” they wrote. And for reporters, “a certain amount of leg work is eminently practical.” (One almost expects them to next blurt out, “in my day, we didn’t have no new-fangled Intertubes; we had to go to the damn library and they should too!”)

*Is media criticism the domain of white males, asks the white-male media critic? That has been a source of intra-industry chatter of late. Shani Hilton of the Washington City Paper posed the question last week. Mona Chang suggests that it’s not just a problem of media criticism, but of the news industry more broadly.

*PaidContent.org asks a question: Who has the better content model — the New York Times or the Daily Mail? That such a question is even getting posed these days makes me want to go back to bed.

*Chris Wallace presses Newt Gingrich on the “ghetto” language issue. Gingrich says Romney is trying to divide people and that Romney himself supports the very same policy that he does when it comes to language instruction: English immersion!

*Fair use or unfair use? NBC is furious that the Romney people used the footage below of a Tom Brokaw newscast in an attack ad on Newt Gingrich. Brokaw himself is up in arms:

“I am extremely uncomfortable with the extended use of my personal image in this political ad,” he said. “I do not want my role as a journalist compromised for political gain by any campaign.”

Extended use? We’re talking about 27 seconds here, the intro of a segment on Gingrich. Brokaw’s outrage sells short the American public: We’ve watched your newscasts, Brokaw. We know you were covering the news that night and had no intention of eventually appearing in a campaign ad. No reasonable person is going to suppose that you sat down on the set on the evening of Jan. 21, 1997 and said quietly to yourself: Hey, if I spin this just right, this segment will gain fame in a 2012 attack ad. As you were, Brokaw.

By  |  09:04 AM ET, 01/30/2012

Tags:  mitt romney, newt gingrich, matt drudge, politico, new york times, david carr, steve waldman, tom brokaw, nbc, mitt romney, newt gingrich

 
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