In case you missed it: How can two media celebs, with decades of experience in the biz, get together and spin out so many baseless contentions over the course of seven minutes? That’s what the Greta-Tucker clash was all about. Also: Sample the various forms of mind control and ma­nipu­la­tion inherent in a White House information embargo.


*“It is an existential problem. Newspapers are dying in this country.” Who said that? Some American news executive? No, British. It came in the context of a discussion of journalistic wrongdoing — a discussion facilitated by the News Corp. phone-hacking scandal. As this report in the Financial Times notes, there’s a fresh debate over there about media self-regulation. (Thanks, Mediagazer.)

*Staying for a second on the other side of the pond, the BBC is making some noise about a Web redesign, with the concept of “swipability” at the center of it all. Since the Erik Wemple Blog would never want to dare define such a concept, let’s let the BBC give it a try:

“The beta provides a first glimpse of core design principles that will underpin the reshaped BBC Online, which take into account changing user behaviours including the preference for ‘swiping’ through content – increasingly intuitive given the rise of touch-screen smart phones and tablets,” the BBC says.

So that’s swipability — just, like, pushing content around a little, showing it who’s boss out there.

*In case the Web site of Media Matters for America doesn’t make clear enough how it feels about News Corp., we have an interview for you. Just below, Media Matters’s Ari Rabin-Havt tells Current TV that Rupert Murdoch’s outfit is “A News Company That Exists To Lie To Its Viewers.” Not just, “hey, News Corp. occasionally crosses the line into mendacity,” or “News Corp. fibs a bit here and there,” or “News Corp. has a shaky relationship with the facts.” He’s saying it exists to lie.

*The Los Angeles Times’ James Rainey says it’s time the media started focusing on class issues:

In the years since the late 1970s, journalists have been focused elsewhere. Like many historians, political scientists and sociologists, their reporting has been aimed at other great socioeconomic collisions: between men and women, black and white, gay and straight, religious and secular, immigrants and native-born Americans.

Even when a reporter or news outlet pursues the story of what economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman calls “the Great Divergence,” the working class has no obvious lobbying group or advocate to bring its interests to the fore. Unions once played that role, but they’ve been in retreat over the same period, notes Jefferson Cowie, a Cornell University historian and author of “Stayin’ Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class.”

*Another week, another book controversy. Ron Suskind’s “Confidence Men,” an insider’s look at the Obama administration’s approach to the economic crisis, got hammered for days by White House officials. They said quotes were being taken out of context, reality was being twisted, and so on. So Suskind invited The Washington Post to hear the audiotape. The result? Well, Suskind is making a quick comeback. Other good work on Suskind from Politico’s Keach Hagey and Huffington Post’s Sam Stein.

*And finally, as part of its nonstop efforts to monitor news outlets in East African countries, we are getting some dire assessments of the Tanzanian media. The MCT is all over it!

As the demand for freedom of speech gains pace, media performance in the past one year has been lukewarm. On one hand, there is omission of some of the important aspects in their reportage while on the other it has performed better in some aspects. This is according to a Print Media Monitoring report prepared by the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) launched last week.

With the omission of voter education, issues related to the right to information and gender, newspapers performed differently in their presentation of election and other issues of public interest, the report points out.

But it seems that media personnel have a long way to go in order to embrace professionalism as the report notes that reportage over candidates, political parties and their manifestos in last year’s General Election, was marked with defamation, bias and ethical abnormalities.The 2010 General Election factor probably contributed to increased media coverage in urban areas where most of the consumers are based.