Sunday, February 12, 2006

Media Watch

A couple of things that I saw this weekend:

1. On MSNBC, an anchor was interviewing a criminal profiler about the Alabama church fires. The profiler was speaking about possible motives for these crimes. When he was finished, the anchor added that race may be a factor, because there are a lot of black churches in Alabama. This MSNBC anchor must not have been aware that of the ten churches that have been torched, five had white congregations, and five had black congregations.

2. I am not a regular watcher of CNN, but I tuned in to watch an appearance by Glenn Reynolds (, who was critical of the media's coverage of the cartoon controversy. Here is the video. Glenn made the point that by not showing the cartoons, news organizations like CNN can cause people to imagine the worst, while in fact, the cartoons are fairly tame. The media exist to provide information.

Andrew Sullivan concurs (in the Sunday Times):
The fundamental job of journalists is to give you as much information as possible to make sense of the world around you. And in this story, where the entire controversy revolves around drawings, the press is suddenly coy. You can see Saddam Hussein in his underwear and members of the royal family in compromising positions. You can see Andres Serrano’s famously blasphemous photograph of a crucifix in urine, called Piss Christ. But a political cartoon that deals with Islam? Not our job, guv. Move right along. Nothing to see here.