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Mass Communication: Living in a Media World, a new text for Introduction to Mass Communication classes.

June 2005 Archive

Note that some of these links are short term and will expire after two weeks. If you have access to Lexis-Nexis at your college or university library, you can retrieve many of the stories that are no longer on the web.

Main Archive List

Friday - June 24, 2005

Whupping on Public Broadcasting - It's Too Liberal, It's Being Taken Over By Conservatives, It's Elitist, It Doesn't Play Enough Classical Music... Oh, Just Stop It, Already!
For the last several weeks there's been an ongoing battle as to whether Congress was going to substantially cut government funds for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. But on Thursday the house voted 284 -140 to strike a 25 percent proposed cut to its budget. Kenneth Tomlinson, the CPB's chair has been in the spotlight as of late, contending that public broadcasting is too liberal. To counter this, he has appointed two politically connected ombudsmen for the CPB (never mind that NPR already has an excellent independent ombudsman), hired a consultant to monitor Bill Moyer's program NOW to make sure that it isn't too liberal, and appointed conservative members to the CPB board. In related news, former Republican Party co-chair Patricia S. Harrison has been elected as president and CEO of the corporation. (In the interest of full disclosure, I have served on the Friends Board of West Virginia Public Radio for the last six years.)

Wednesday - June 22, 2005

Has Synergy Gone Too Far? What's Going On At NBC These Days?
Can we step away from the endless left/right bias debate for a bit and look at a real problem in television news? How far can a news organization go to get an exclusive story? Can it pay for it? Can it give a politician a quid pro quo? There have been at least two stories circulating today about questionable practices at NBC News that don't suggest dishonesty or laziness so much as a really scary level of synergy.

Tuesday - June 21, 2005

Monday - June 20, 2005

Friday - June 17, 2005

Thursday - June 16, 2005

Tuesday - June 14, 2005

Monday - June 13, 2005

Everyone's Gone to the Movies Dept.
A quick round-up of movie-related stories from the Washington Post:

Thursday - June 9, 2005

Wednesday - June 8, 2005

Tuesday - June 7, 2005

Monday - June 6, 2005

Friday - June 3, 2005

Thursday - June 2, 2005

Deep Throat - Day 2
The news about the news today continues to be dominated by Tuesday's revelation that legendary Watergate source Deep Throat was actually W. Mark Felt, former #2 at the FBI. Here's a round up of items from blogs and news sites on the story.

Wednesday - June 1, 2005

Journalism's Great Secret Revealed - Washington Post Confirms Identity of "Deep Throat"
Reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein confirmed Tuesday that W. Mark Felt, the former #2 person at the FBI, was "Deep Throat." Deep Throat was the secret source who provided guidance and background to the two reporters as they worked the Watergate story in the early 1970s. The reporters, along with editor Ben Bradlee, had promised not to give up Deep Throat's name until he died, but Vanity Fair magazine and Felt's family had identified the 91-year-old retiree as the source. Woodward will have story in Thursday's Post discussing his relationship with Felt.

Deep Throat was in many ways one of the most important sources in recent journalistic history, for a variety of reasons. First of all, he gave the Washington Post confidence to move forward with their story when everyone was full of criticism for the paper. As Bradlee told the Post, "The number-two guy at the FBI, that was a pretty good source." But Woodward and Bernstein's success using sources on deep background has also led to the whole culture of using anonymous sources in Washington. At times, of course, anonymous sources are a necessary part of journalism. But these days, routine briefings are held on background so that the sources won't be identified. These sources, sometimes referred to as "anonymice," remove accountability from sources and put journalists in a dangerous position. And dishonest journalists can use unnnamed sources as a way of fabricating stories. So the legacy of Deep Throat is journalism at its best and at it's worst. That is not Deep Throat's fault, though. It is up to journalists and their editors to know when anonymous sources are worth using, and when they are not.