After Benedict XVI quit and before
cardinals began voting for his successor, daily news-free news stories
left us as ignorant as the day before. Until Francis’ election, nothing really
happened. That’s one reason NPR received 200-plus complaints, its
ombudsman reported, mostly about 47 stories running during the four
weeks between popes.
I hope the tabloid Enquirer holds current subscribers and attracts new readers, especially folks who are drawn more to the visual than the verbal. Publisher Margaret Buchanan promises its debut Monday. Trucks will bring it from Columbus, where it’ll be printed on Dispatch presses.
So what is it about Jews? Not only real Jews but also fearful fantasies about Jews. I ask because so many mainstream
reporters, bloggers and columnists seem fascinated and repelled by the
implied menace of “the Jewish lobby.”
Typically, invoking a Great Man to settle
an argument involves Lincoln, Twain, Stalin, Churchill, Chief Seattle,
etc. Hitler is a provocative new favorite. Among some gun control foes, quoting
Hitler proves what will happen if Obama has his way: gun registration,
confiscation and tyranny.
When a reporter uses the law to pry
public records from resisting officials, readers are supposed to
benefit. And when readers value that invocation of open records laws, it
adds luster to the reporter’s work.
Shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School once again demonstrate a troubling paradox: A news story can be accurate and wrong. The aftermath of the massacre quickly
provided reporters with opportunities to put out stories that accurately
reported wildly incorrect but seemingly authoritative information.
I’m grateful to the GQ magazine reporter who asked Florida Sen. Marco Rubio about the age of the earth. It raises a vital question for a country
where significant numbers of Americans reject much of science from
creation to evolution.
If this presidential campaign hasn’t been sufficiently enervating, here’s more dispiriting news. Gallup reports that “Americans’ distrust in the media hit a new high
this year, with 60 percent saying they have little or no trust in the
mass media to report the news fully, accurately and fairly.”