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One thing you can count on in life is that if your vulnerability is caught on tape, the news media is going to use it. If you get caught after a hurricane shirtless, they'll use it whether you like it or not. If a police dog rips off your clothes -- even if you're innocent -- they're going to use it. If a carjacker beats you up in the most humiliating way and it is caught on tape, watch the news because you'll be on it.

The dignity of others is of no consequence when you have advertising minutes to sell and ratings to get, and a personally embarrassing video is pure gold to a struggling news room because everyone can identify with it.

You might remember earlier this week when I wrote the following:

Bob Woodruff and his camera operator, Doug Vogt, were hit by an IED today while recording a stand-up. Godspeed to their recovery, but I have to wonder why this video hasn't aired yet. If it were anyone else it would be exploited with a constant loop. No doubt someone at ABC is rethinking the concept of privacy, unfortunately that concept of privacy will never be extended to any of us.
Now Drudge is reporting that special consideration is being given to the anchor.
ABCNEWS executives have made the controversial decision to hold off airing video footage that was being taped when anchorman Bob Woodruff was injured by an explosive in Iraq, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned... MORE...
A conversation took place at ABC to discuss whether that tape should air. Do you think the network has ever called the family of a soldier to ask if they wanted the tape of their loved one getting killed or maimed aired on network TV?


The Boston Globe is not exactly breaking news on its front page this morning, running a story in which they found "legal specialists" who were willing to call the President a liar. This matches, of course, the general position of the Boston Globe on the Bush administration, so these specialists are credible and believable, and warrant front-page mention.
Legal specialists yesterday questioned the accuracy of President Bush's sweeping contentions about the legality of his domestic spying program, particularly his assertion in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday that "previous presidents have used the same constitutional authority I have."





On a slow news day, a couple Today show notes, both concerning Matt Lauer.



The Washington Post devotes the most prominent part of its "Style" section front page today to a story headlined "'St. Jack' and the Bullies in the Pulpit." In a curious bout of news judgment, the Post and its reporter Peter Slevin decided it was newsworthy that former GOP Senator John Danforth has published two op-eds trashing the Christian right (one in the New York Times), bemoaning their place in today's majority Republican Party.



ABC on Wednesday night devoted a story to how New Orleans residents are upset that President Bush, in his State of the Union address, did not advocate even more money for those hurt by Hurricane Katrina. Reporter Steve Osunsami littered his story with several supposed Bush voters who are angry at him. “The speech was practically over before the President mentioned Hurricane Katrina, one of the worst natural disasters in America's history,” World News Tonight anchor Elizabeth Vargas fretted. She added: “Many people in New Orleans were not happy about it.” Osunsami began with a woman who proclaimed: “Last night, the proof was in the pudding. He doesn't give a damn about us!" Osunsami outlined “what many residents wanted to hear: A greater share of the tax revenue generated from oil and gas drilled off Louisiana's shore, even more money for stronger levees, and a rebuilding plan that would cover each and every affected homeowner.”

Osunsami noted how $85 billion has already been allocated, before he proceeded to cue up soundbites from Bush voters. A doctor argued that "this is a situation that requires big government help” and a woman contended that “the government's job is to protect me, and that's what I expect them to do." Osunsami cautioned: "Perhaps the State of the Union Address wasn't the place for announcing policy aimed at helping these homeowners, but there's a feeling here that they were slighted." (Transcript follows.)



In all the excitement this past week, I missed the Adbusters interview with Helen Thomas, "the First Lady of the Press". In "Journalists Need More Courage", associate editor Deborah Campbell asked Thomas about the state of journalism.

Most of the article was the standard responses. The most interesting statements came when Campbell asked Helen Thomas about the direction of US foreign policy. Helen had quite a response:



Garrett Graff, one of the editors of fishbowlDC -- "a gossip blog about Washington, D.C. media" that’s part of the MediaBistro.com mini-empire – has joined those who’ve stated hopefully that something or other will prove to be a “Cronkite moment” regarding the Iraq war.



Shortly before 8am EST Wednesday on CNN's American Morning, co-host Miles O'Brien expressed outrage at Cindy Sheehan's ejection from the House of Representatives during Tuesday evening's State of the Union address, declaring that her free speech had been "thwarted." Mr. O'Brien incorrectly stated that soon after Ms.





New from the Business & Media Institute


Health Savings Accounts: Opportunity for Consumer Control
The media are back on the fear and loathing trail, and this time its about health savings accounts. But unlike Social Security accounts, they cant stop these from going into effect theyre already available. The media are supporting many arguments against HSAs and leaving out key facts.



Greenspans greatest achievement was resisting political pressure and keeping money supply stable, fueling investment in the United States.


     The senior citizens she interviewed were unhappy with the idea of health savings accounts (HSAs), and Regan egged them on in their concerns instead of presenting the facts. Did he adequately address your concerns? Regan asked Carol Damis, who replied, Not at all. Bill Nickel, another senior citizen, said he was skeptical about health savings accounts because of the history.

     A year ago we were told that Social Security was in a crisis,


Tim Graham has already addressed this comment today in his post on comparisons of Bush and Herbert Hoover. I would like to address the point Tom Shales made in his Washington Post column today, A Speech Both Stately And Stolid, and provide a bit more historical basis for the use of this comparison - to Hoover. Shales stated in his opening line:



Once assumed to be the likely successor to Dan Rather, White House correspondent John Roberts is leaving CBS to become CNN's "senior national correspondent" starting February 20.

At CBS, Roberts defined himself as part of that network's liberal spin machine -- castigating conservatives, adoring liberals -- highlights of which are documented in this 2004 Media Reality Check (obviously written before CBS became infatuated with Katie Couric). One of the best quotes came when Roberts was filling in for Rather on the CBS Evening News back on May 30, 1994, when he offered this ridiculously sensationalized take on "lethal" golf courses: