Courage

You know, back during Monicagate I used to tell non-journo friends and relatives worried about “media bias” that the real problem wasn’t bias, it was a lethal cocktail of laziness and stupidity:

It was a great two-week story, and a horrific misappropriation of priorities. Think of the thousands of reporters who went chasing after this non-story. Wasn’t there anything else going on in the world? What about a couple of wars?

The Washington Post had it on page 1. Did this flimsy news really deserve 2,478 words on the front page of the New York Times?

Look at all the New York Times reporters working on the story:

“By RICK LYMAN and RALPH BLUMENTHAL; Rick Lyman reported from New York for this article, and Ralph Blumenthal from Boulder, Colo. Additional reporting was contributed by Raymond Bonner in Jakarta, Indonesia; Nick Bunkley in Charlevoix, Mich.; Dan Frosch and Mindy Sink in Boulder; Brenda Goodman in Atlanta; Virginia Heffernan, Jennifer 8. Lee and Ben Sisario in New York; Carolyn Marshall in Petaluma, Calif.; Jim Noles in Birmingham, Ala.; and Scott Shane in Washington.”

Because seriously, the justification is getting out of hand. It reminds me of the swift boat liars: political reporters have to cover crap spewed at war heroes by former Nixon bagmen because it’s “out there.” Forget if it’s true, forget if it’s relevant, just … it’s “out there,” it’s “a phenomenon” (oh, the horrifying days of stories about the DaVinci Code and the Passion of the Mel, same disease), it’s “all abuzz on the Interweb.” Have a little fucking self-respect, would you please?

I really didn’t have that much of a problem with the tabloids fapping away about all this because, really, is there anybody who reads the New York Post for any other reason than gossip and silly headlines? Whatever. Smacking them around for unserious coverage is like complaining about the caloric and fat contents of a funnel cake.

What I have a problem with is everybody else who jumped all over the story and now wants to act like it was beneath them, really, but they were forced into it by TV, or those kids with their MySpaces, or the Media Hive Mind or something. Here’s a clue for the clueless: If you don’t want to cover something, don’t cover it. You can in fact refuse to run the story on the front page. You can in fact not put sixteen reporters on it. You can in fact make those decisions. I don’t know who from the Vast Media Conspiracy was going around holding editors and news directors hostage in the past two weeks, putting guns under their chins and saying “Cover this or die,” but you’d think that was the scenario the way all these spineless assholes are acting right now.

God. Grow a pair, make a decision, and then defend it, but stop acting like you’re powerless in the face of the words “everybody’s talking about it.” Everybody’s talking about a lot of stuff. The slight on blogs used to be that news organizations had gatekeepers who decided what needed to be covered and why. Say that now and it just sounds like the funniest joke ever.

And then there’s this journalism prof, saying the pursuit of Karr was courageous.

Um, no, poppet. This is courageous.

Schmucks.

A.