June 28, 2007
Media Hustles (Bob Franken)
@ 10:22 am
Am I wrong or do you agree that Paris Hilton would be a terrific TV anchorwoman? I mean, she has what it takes: She’s blond. And she clearly has the intellect for it.
Yes, I know. That was a cheap shot. But cheap shots seem to be all around us. Take the New York Times and its series on Rupert Murdoch.
Far be it for me to defend his media. But the charges that they pander more than report are old news. And so are the accusations that Murdoch compromises them in the name of his business interests.
But here we have the New York Times fitting into print a series that regurgitates those charges just when Rupert Murdoch just HAPPENS to be involved in a bidding struggle to obtain one of the Times’s main competitors. What an amazing coincidence. What an opening for Murdoch’s people to claim that the reports were examples of precisely the same conduct they were alleging.
Mainstream media sometimes have trouble understanding why their credibility is in the toilet. Well, maybe all the attention to the Paris Hilton triviality and some of the other shenanigans in the stodgier publications have something to do with it.
Let’s be fair. We in media can often be proud of what we produce. Look no further than this week’s brilliant series on Vice President Cheney.
It isn’t often one gets to make Paris Hilton and the “Gray Lady” bedfellows, particularly since I doubt that Paris Hilton has ever read the New York Times. We know what to expect from Paris. We’d like to know that we can expect more than economic self-interest disguised as news in the Times.