Friday, June 10, 2005

CSN Journalism

Yesterday the BBC reported on a NYT article which claims that "a White House offiicial edited government reports in ways that played down links between global warming and emissions." The author of the original NYT article, Andrew Revkin, responded to criticism of his report, and interestingly he seems to downplay the importance of the report. He acknowledges that "Every White House edits reports. No brainer," and blames the high profile of his revelations on the secrecy of the Bush administration:
Sadly, the White House is so hermetically sealed on such matters that it has
essentially created such stories by making scraps of tea-leaf-like information
Apparently the NYT, like the BBC, exercises the Crosby, Stills & Nash method of journalism...if you don't have news worth hyping, hype the news you've got.

But in any event doesn't it seem the height of irony when organizations such as the BBC and The NYT find it notable and scandalous that others use subtle wording and nuance to, as Revkin said in his e-mail, "create a different tone than what was there before"?


Anonymous Mark Miller said...

The thing is the BBC, politicos in European government, the liberal establishment in the U.S., and many in the scientific establishment believe that global warming caused by humans is a reality. For the U.S. to challenge that notion is seen as us being in denial, which to them makes this report editing newsworthy. I don't get where Revkin gets off saying that the Administration's secrecy makes such a thing stand out. I think if it were more open the same thing would've happened. For anyone to challenge the "global warming" orthodoxy is heresy, secrecy or not.

Your note about Revkin reminds me of the incident where many in the media threw responsibility towards the White House for the Afghan violence over the "flushed Quran" story, which Newsweek printed. They said, "There wouldn't have been violence over this story if the U.S.'s image in the world wasn't so bad." Yeah, see. It's not our fault we printed something so outlandish and wrong! It's the Administration's image that's the problem.

What I see is a trend where whenever someone in the media gets tagged with responsibility for something they said, they diminish their own importance. They say, "What's the big deal?? I just said something. You mean you actually paid attention to it and took it seriously??" I don't know if they want to keep up that attitude for long. As surveys are showing, people here already don't take them too seriously. They're just encouraging that. Whatever happened to being "the source of record"?

8:50 AM  

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