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Ben L. Kaufman
 

Does the Media's Obsession With 24/7 Breaking News Compromise Law Enforcement?

0 Comments · Tuesday, May 11, 2010
In the Good Old Days, journalists generally held a story if authorities said it could compromise the stakeout, chase or anticipated capture of a suspect. Even if we knew where agents were headed or or stood with them outside a motel where a kidnapper and victim were hidden, we responded with silence. These issues arose again when the 24/7-obsessed news media unthinkingly helped the Times Square bombing suspect almost escape.   

Why the Media (Even the Big Boys) Fail to Ask the Right Questions

1 Comments · Monday, April 26, 2010
Reporting creates personal reservoirs of trivia. My treasury includes South African troopers in vehicles designed to defeat land mines laid by ANC's military wing during the apartheid era. So I wonder why American reporters in Washington, Iraq and Afghanistan haven't written about the Pentagon decision to go to war without South African vehicles that could have reduced now-common traumatic brain injury and loss of limbs from roadside mines and IEDs.  

Blurring the Lines Between News and Advertising Content

0 Comments · Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Gannett's Indianapolis Star has a real mess on its hands involving a breach of ethics and the readers' trust, started when the paper "repurposed" a three-year-old feature story and photo spread on summer camps in a new camp guide advertising section without the reporter's or photographer's knowledge. The old story was labeled "special advertising feature" and presented as if it contained up-to-date information. I asked Enquirer Editor Tom Callinan about his policy on the separation of news- and advertising-oriented content.  

Frenzied Coverage of Toyota Problems Short on Skepticism and Attribution

1 Comments · Monday, March 29, 2010
We're watching the meltdown of another story that was too good to be true, too vivid and contemporary to challenge: the runaway California Prius. It didn't take long before the California driver's claims were restated as facts: uncontrolled speed, inability to slow or stop and heroic cop who played a role in averting disaster. It made sense if you believed the hype about Toyota problems. It was too good a story.   

A View from Abroad

BBC reporter Katty Kay’s take on U.S. politics

3 Comments · Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Katty Kay is a worldly Brit who's covered our nation for more than a decade, though a "strange duality" continues to puzzle her: The more highly respected an American politician is abroad (such as President Obama), the more suspect he is at home; and Americans want some kind of health care reform but refuse to learn anything from "socialistic" Europeans who enjoy cheaper, broader health care with equal or better outcomes. She explored these contradictions at the national speakers forum of the Cincinnati Woman's City Club on March 11.  

Covering the Science Beat for an Increasingly Anti-Science Audience

2 Comments · Monday, March 15, 2010
In today's cultural, intellectual and financial world, I can't imagine a media job with less potential than science reporter. When your sources become objects of public scorn and ridicule, what's to write? In a nation accustomed to seeking simple answers to complex questions and a culture increasingly driven by belief rather than evidence, scientists today often are trying to communicate with the willfully deaf.  

Local Corporations Tried to Control Health Care Costs Before, and They Failed

0 Comments · Monday, March 1, 2010
General Electric boss Jeffrey Immelt wants major businesses to create a regional cooperative to deal with major shortcomings (limited access, rising costs) of our health system. Something similar was tried in 1992, when the big four employers (P&G, Kroger, GE Aviation and Cincinnati Bell) basically sought to control costs by demanding that hospitals demonstrate cost effectiveness. Facing threats to their fees, unhappy physicians used scare tactics to predict a health care crisis as specialists left for more lucrative cities.  

TV Weather Forecasters Force the Snow/Danger Drumbeat

2 Comments · Wednesday, February 17, 2010
True to their tribe, local TV forecasters created as much anxiety as possible recently about a storm moving into our region. Day after day, we learned nothing new from redundant presentations and banter with anchors. It was like a sermon: The more fearful their ceaseless drumming makes us, the likelier we are to stay tuned for redemption.   

Supreme Court: Let's Fight Words With Words, Not Muzzles

0 Comments · Monday, February 1, 2010
It didn't take long before I realized the true horror of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision freeing corporations to spend freely to support political campaigns. It wasn't the new potential for corruption or wealth drowning out other voices. It's the promise of more campaign ads on local TV.  

Separation Between News Reporting and Opinion Is Like Church and State

0 Comments · Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Believe what you want, there is a difference between news and advocacy. Forget that and it's editorializing, a corrosive mixture of news and opinion in the guise of news. Exhibit A: the recent Enquirer story reporting as fact a local woman's ability to foretell the future. If that weren't enough, the paper provided contact information for anyone wanting a private "reading."