A tedious, repetitive and self-indulgent attempt to make the news cycle transparent.
Rosenberg (Critical Writing and News Ethics/Univ. of Southern California; Not So Prime Time: Chasing the Trivial on American Television, 2004) and journalist Feldman sketch out what seems like a compelling argument. With the increasing pace of news production, the proliferation of blogs and the decreased emphasis on traditional journalistic practices, they aver, reporters simply aren’t able to produce accurate, insightful news, and the trust between journalists and their audience has eroded. Both authors have the pedigrees and experience to back their argument: Rosenberg is a Pulitzer Prize–winning television critic; Feldman has spent nearly 20 years as a reporter. So it’s all the more disappointing that, rather than providing clear examples of the ways in which the media cycle has caused catastrophic failures, they engage in self-gratifying bloviating, at one point even including a chapter’s worth of their conversation. Both authors seem to be acutely aware of the potential criticism that there is a generational aspect to their argument, that maybe people their age just don’t “get” the speed at which the present world must operate. In response, what ought to be a reasoned argument about the evils of the day at times assumes the defensively forced gaiety and practiced informality of old folks imitating young folks. (One of the authors, attending a Vegas conference on this new thing called “blogging,” repeatedly refers to himself as “your blogmeister.”) Rosenberg and Feldman touch on episodes like Scott McClellan’s book and the media “firestorm” that allowed various myths to be perpetuated across the nation, but they don’t venture an explanation of how one blogger’s misinterpretation (the president told McClellan to lie!) turned into the next day’s news feed.
Slapdash treatment of an important topic.