Something To Ponder as We Look at the State of the 4th Estate

About the time I think those in power or at least in powerful positions will look at the bonehead deeds of those who have come before them and think “Man, I won’t do anything THAT stupid”, someone takes a big sip from the “Stupid Cup” and does something really stupid.  I generally try to stay away from politics on this blog but the whole “John Edwards” thing can only be described as stupid, insensitive and callous.  But that’s not the reason for this post.  I received an email from a reader Chris Julian, formerly of Memphis, now living in Brazil with his wife and family where they serve as missionaries.  When CJ was in town back in July, I had a cup of coffee with him and got to know him a bit.  He’s a nice guy and he stays up on the national and international news by way of the networks in the U-S and the Memphis stuff by way of the internet.  This is someone who attended the University of Memphis State University, received his degree and thought he wanted to go into the broadcasting business until he wrapped up his internship at a local TV station.  That was apparently enough.  Having said that, CJ wrote me an email after the John Edwards story broke.  Here is what he wrote:

You know I feel awkward chiming in on your blog at times. You have
such “big guns” in the industry. I’m such a small boat in a big ocean.
But i do enjoy reading your posts and the posts of your readers.
Sometimes I think of things that are not appropriate to write to be
posted on the subject at hand. So I have a question that I’ll ask you
here.

When I was growing up, the National Enquirer was something laughed at.
When I was in college, it was never considered journalism. And if you
brought it up in class, the only thing you would do was to roll your
eyes. Now, “breaking news!” and the NE is in the spotlight. John
Edwards has an affair. I watched commentators on Fox News and CNN
International admit that the major media outlets sat on this story for
a year or even more. So as soon as someone else, no matter how smutty
they are, breaks the smut, they’re all quick to pounce!

And then why does the media not bring up Clinton? He was the
president, okay I don’t have to go into that. Besides being impeached,
Clinton walks away like he’s bullet proof (which reminds me of a
sketch on SNL). So we’re cornering Edwards with this? I see hypocrisy
here but no one touches it.

Fox News had the editor of NE on today. Yes, the NE is the source. I
don’t know. It’s complicated, isn’t it? So, as of this story, the NE
is a credible source. Yikes! I can hear my advisor at the Memphis
State yelling, “That’s $&@*&% CRAP MR. JULIAN!”

CJ brings up several points, observations and and questions and instead of me trying to answer them I thought I’d throw the doors open and see if anyone out there in the blogosphere has any thoughts.

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7 Comments on “Something To Ponder as We Look at the State of the 4th Estate”

  1. Andy Wise Says:

    As I recall, mainstream media outlets jumped on to the Edwards story after Edwards HIMSELF finally admitted to the affair, not after or because the National Equirer broke the story. Edwards’ admission to the affair was also an admission to lying. He’s a former public official — he’s still a public figure — and it could be argued that before his admission, he was still on the short list for the Democratic VP nomination.

    Sounds like news to me … journalism 101.

  2. Chris in Brasil Says:

    Right. I agree. It IS news. This is major news considering his probable voice at the DNC and short list to be VP.

    My point is it seems that the news I see from here, Fox and CNN, they’re all bringing in the National Enquirer on this as a credible source. Perhaps the NE is a credible source…on this story. But is this new ground we’re breaking in that we’re looking to the tabloids for breaking news stories? Or is this just the NE taking advantage of the situation in that no one else would report the story? The editor of the NE was on Hannity the other night saying he had more stories and pictures. O’Reilly said they sat on the story for a year. What made the NE break the story? We’re in a “Jerry Springer” WORLD. If I’m not mistaken he finally admitted because the NE went public.

  3. Lewis Says:

    It’s not that the National Enquirer has become more like the “mainstream media,” it’s that the modern mainstream media has become more like the National Enquirer. This is the kind of thing that no media outlet would have touched not that many years ago, but those days are long gone. Sadly, it IS news, in this day and age. If this standard on who is “fit” to be a leader had applied through the years, we would have lost a lot of great leaders. It’s also probably why our choices for great leaders we could really use in these times keeps shrinking. Can you blame them? Not all great leaders have trouble keeping their pants up, but I guess some of them do. Just like some preachers, postmen, Wal-Mart Assistant managers, and REPORTERS (some of the WORST offenders). I don’t care about that part of their personal lives, as long as it doesn’t effect their ability to to their job. I expect they catch enough hell from their wives before the NE ever jumps in. I’m sure, in retrospect, Newt, McCain and other Republicans would agree. I can’t imagine the Monica Lewinsky tryst effecting Clinton’s ability to govern nearly as much as Ken Starr’s investigation, but in this day and age, these stories are deemed more important than Russia’s invasion of Georgia, the purging wars in Africa and the terrorist threat from Al Queda. Go figure.


  4. I find it laughable the MSM ignored this until NE scooped them on it. Remember this is not the first time, can you say Monica? NE and Drudge Report were all over that. Most modern newsrooms are afraid or aren’t willing to do the work it really takes to flush out this type of story. Years ago what NE on Edwards would have been considered excellent journalism. They did their homework, sat in place and watched, then pounced when the time was right.

    Now all of the other “big boys” are jumping on the wagon as to not look totally stupid being upstaged by “tabloid media” as Mr. Edwards described them.

    Uhhhh, I think got it right Johnny. They did a fantastic job on this and everyone else followed.

    -T-

  5. Ready Camera One, Take Two Says:

    Bear in mind also that this was the man who was a virtual shoe-in to be the Attorney General of the United States and no one wanted to touch it until the elephant in the room finally pooped. So Fox sits on it for a year! Did the assignment desk not have a photog or reporter for 365 consecutive days? So I guess the Gag Rags will take over Helen Thomas’ seat in the White House press corps.
    And it is so much like gossip…”I didn’t say this, but here’s what I heard.”

  6. the tall tv guy Says:

    There were some reports after John Edwards was seen going into a hotel late at night then, when confronted by a NE reporter about 5 hours later, hid in the men’s room and phoned hotel security for help.

    This is another example how the MSM is bias and not objective. Why bury this story? Makes you wonder what other stories have not been aired or written over the years.

  7. oskiesmom Says:

    No one has mentioned the little detail that the National Enquirer gets stories that the MSM don’t because they PAY THEIR SOURCES.

    But I do agree that the cultural “wall” has fallen between the tabs and the MSM. I remember the day it fell: when the CA ran a front-page story about Gennifer Flowers “I was Bill Clinton’s lover.” and the CA quoted the National Enquirer. That was what? 1992?
    I knew it was all over then.


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