White Noise: News from inside the media bubble
The Winston-Salem Journal launched its redesigned website last week. The new site features slideshows, RSS feeds, weather radar and breaking news. It’s a great improvement over their old site, a vertical set-up with one featured story and acres of scrolling. The new design uses more of the window’s horizontal space and I think it loads faster. You’ve got to scroll a bit to get to the local news, but the new slideshow feature pulls out some of the biggest stories in an easy-to-use fashion. My biggest beef with the site is the profusion of pop-up ads, but that’s something you deal with on the web.
If you haven’t done so yet, take an hour or so and check out Saturday’s front-page story from The New York Times involving the Pentagon’s manipulation of media and public opinion regarding the war in Iraq. In his article, “Message machine: Behind analysts, the Pentagon’s hidden hand,” Timesman David Barstow uncovers evidence of a corps of “military analysts” who were essentially part of the Pentagon’s in-house PR team. The revelation is unsurprising from an administration that has already been linked to cash payouts to favorable journalists and which holds White House meetings with radio talk-show hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Neal Boortz to disseminate talking points. But the story should infuriate anyone who based their opinion of the war on “expert testimony” from analysts whose integrity had been so compromised.
Clinton and Stephanopoulos
ABC News anchors George Stephanopoulos and Charles Gibson have taken a drubbing for hammering Sen. Barack Obama on a variety of issues, including his comment that rural, poor voters are “bitter,” the controversial statements of his pastor, not wearing an American flag lapel pin and his association and his affiliation with Weather Underground activist William Ayers, at the April 16 debate at the National Constitution Center. In comparison, opponent Sen. Hillary Clinton was thought to have received relatively light treatment, with the moderators merely forcing her to acknowledge that she misspoke about her trip to Bosnia and to affirm that Obama is electable. In fairness, journalists have tended to be rougher on Clinton in past debates and coverage. All the same, is it just me or was it not a conflict of interest for ABC to pick a moderator, Stephanopoulos, who worked on President Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign and who served as an aide to the former president?