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Thoughts Online Magazine
Collected Articles on Culture & Politics
Not That I Was Listening To Them Anyway 
19th-Jul-2006 06:31 pm
Inspiration
From the New York Observer, the kind of story that points out why the New York Times is no longer the flagship of good reporting:


The story had everything: secret agents, political intrigue, personal betrayal and cash. Lots and lots of cash.

Yet, for all that, a remarkable trial that ended last week in a Manhattan courtroom—a proceeding that implicated figures in the highest echelons of international politics—was barely mentioned in the major American press. If it weren’t for the journalistic wing of the conservative movement, outlets like the National Review Online and The New York Sun, it might not have been covered at all.

Take the events of last Thursday, for example. After two weeks of testimony, a jury took only a few hours to convict a South Korean national, Tongsun Park, of acting as an unregistered agent of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. The conspiracy of which he was a part ran for 10 years, ending in late 2002, and helped one of the world’s worst regimes maintain its grip on power.

But The New York Times did not assign a reporter to his trial, its total coverage amounting to a brief wire report on the day following Mr. Park’s conviction. Of the other major national dailies, The Washington Post ran a single news-brief item, the Los Angeles Times not a word.


Read the whole article.

Pathetic. If you can't bother to assign a reporter to the local courthouse, what kind of news operation are you running?

UPDATE: As it turns out, the MSM is crowing about being able to keep secrets, and saying that proves they are the right people to make that judgement. Worthwhile responses are here and here.. I will not take the time to improve on this:

Tom Maguire cuts to the chase: "With easily identifiable potential victims and villains, the press sat on the story."

This is what we refer to in the industry as a "no-brainer." The connection between this incident and more recent leak controversies — in which consequences of exposing classified terrorist-tracking programs have not been as intuitive — is tenuous at best. Yet according to the author, "The Canada-hostage story proves that reporters and news organizations can be trusted, en masse, to make the right call on security information they uncover."

No. It proves that the press usually makes the right call when the right call is mind-numbingly obvious. Interesting story, but wrong conclusion.
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