Too much "news" analysis

Letter to the editor

Posted: Wednesday, November 02, 2005

AKA "The Outing of Valerie Plame"? More to the point, are you as slackjawed as I am at innumerable "news" reports describing in exquisite detail what this or that treacherous, Machiavellian (and alleged) act might mean for the country if 14 things (in order) happen first? Why, this could lead complete destruction. A Constitutional crisis. Impeachment. The gas chamber.

The New York Times calls this "news analysis," which means they are running an editorial in a nano-thin veil of reportage, while CNN and the older broadcast networks don't even bother to draw a distinction between fact and forecast. Chris Matthews and Bill O'Reilly may not come to the same conclusions but neither are "fair and balanced" or "one of our most respected journalists." Both are monumentally egotistical blowhards chasing ratings and broadcast market share. In essence, that is the flawed mechanism at the heart of most of our information sources; it is a product that must be packaged and sold in order to provide exposure to their sponsor's advertising. When you hear, "This is Bob. Bob is doing well," you have a fair idea of the quality of the product "Bob" represents.

Speculation and conjecture are not news, and the logical leap from A to S and beyond is both a waste of time and an intellectual swindle of us all. Reporting should center on verifiable facts of what actually occurred; further reaching toward "the reason they took us to war" is nonsense. If Scooter Libby is convicted of obstruction or perjury he should face the same music you or I would in the same place. Too bad Saddam Hussein isn't subject to the same system; his recent strategy of murdering his own defense attorneys, thus making a defense at trial impossible, is unique but completely in character. Overthrowing him was a great service to humanity however flawed the details are.

Rick Kaufman


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