Thursday, August 05, 2004

Dancer in the Dark

It didn't get a lot of publicity, but the Democratic Convention blogging by the left wing American Prospect magazine proved to be pretty good (I only discovered it myself via the weekly e-newsletter I get from them). The real time media reports were particularly interesting. For example:

FOX NEWS, TUESDAY, 10:15 P.M.: While Ron Reagan pled for seriousness and moral courage in our national stem-cell research policy, FOX News helped out with informative biographical flashes about the speaker: "Left law school to become a dancer ... Danced for the Joffrey Ballet ... Wrote for Ladies' Home Journal ... Occasional host on Animal Planet ... Editor for Playboy ... " You get the picture. At one point they cut to a delegate in the audience in an enormous rainbow hat. That network's a real class act.

As a media consumer, I have to say that's brilliant programming. Is it any wonder why Fox News is such an endearing institution for those on the right? Fair and balanced and funny. You can't beat that. At least CNN can't.

But I wonder, what's so wrong about providing background information on a person promoting themselves as an expert on a complex public policy issue. Is it supposed to be kept a secret, is that what The American Prospect is advocating?

What TAP sees as bias, I could just as easily call a presentation of the relevant facts. The issue of "relevance" is where they'd quibble, but that's what professional journalists are paid to do, provide judgments on these matters. And if you don't like the judgments of Fox News, you had five other decidedly left of center options to choose from. All of whom were more than willing to keep Ron Reagan Jr's bona fides on stem cell research a well guarded secret. So next time, turn the channel, stick your head back in the sand, and stop whining.

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